Highway projects everywhere
Will County sees bonanza of infrastructure improvements
By BOB OKON
The Herald News
The state highway improvement plan for the next five years has something big in store for every part of Will County.
The Interstate 80 project that has captured the most attention promises improved bridges, new interchanges and other improvements through Joliet to the western end of the county.
Along Interstate 55, a new interchange at Airport Road and an improved interchange at Route 126 promises to make commuting easier for motorists from Plainfield, Romeoville and Bolingbrook heading north to Chicago.
Going south on I-55, a new interchange at Route 59 provides the infrastructure Joliet officials say is needed to spur development of Rock Run Crossings, and more improvements farther south will accommodate growth of Elion Logistics Park 55 in Wilmington.
Even the east end of the county may be getting a significant interchange, said John Greuling, chief executive officer of the Will County Center for Economic Development.
An Interstate 57 interchange planned for Eagle Lake Road is at a proposed access point for the long-contemplated South Suburban Airport.
“There’s no planned commercial or industrial development at that point,” Greuling said of the proposed interchange. “You have to think that the purpose of this is to support the airport project.”
Greuling and other Will County leaders for years have called on the state to spend more money on infrastructure to accommodate population and industrial growth.
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I-80 Coalition News
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.
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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.