Construction of Houbolt Road bridge in Joliet planned for September
By BOB OKON | Herald News
Construction of a future Houbolt Road bridge could start in September now that a lease agreement from the public-private project has been approved.
The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement that will make the city owners of a toll bridge over the Des Plaines River to be built, operated and maintained by a private partnership created by CenterPoint Properties.
The bridge has been estimated to cost anywhere from $150 million to $200 million to build,
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who pegged the potential cost at $180 million to $200 million, called it “the single biggest private investment in the community.”
Several representatives from United Bridge Partners and CenterPoint, who have formed the joint venture named Houbolt Road Extension JV, were at the meeting. But they limited their comments to one sentence on the likely timetable for the bridge opening.
“We’re hoping end of the year 2022,” CenterPoint CEO Michael Murphy said. “That could roll into spring 2023 with construction starting in September.”
The city of Joliet and Mayor Bob O’Dekirk have announced the inclusion of $1.01 billion in I-80 reconstruction funds in the proposed $41.5 billion capital improvement plan proposed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. But there is nothing official from Springfield. Lawmakers still have until May 31st to approve the budget.
The push to improve Interstate 80 got a boost Friday when Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a state capital plan that includes $1 billion for Interstate 80.
A proposal shown to lawmakers includes major new spending on roads, transit, schools and more, but would require a doubling of the gas tax and new levies on items like vehicle registration, liquor, cable TV and ride-hailing.
State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, has introduced legislation aimed at converting the local stretch of Interstate 80 into a tollway.
A coalition created to push for improvements to Interstate 80 will point to $623 billion of freight coming through Will County a year, making a case the local corridor has national importance.
A new grass-roots effort, known as the I-80 Coalition, has been launched by the Will County Center for Economic Development to hasten needed improvements to I-80.
A new I-80 Coalition is being formed to speed up long-term plans to improve the interstate.
The chairman of the state tollway board laid out a case to the Joliet City Council on Monday for turning the local stretch of Interstate 80 into a toll road.