I-80 Coalition to push for highway funding
Study: 3.5% of GDP moves through Will County
By Bob Okon
The Herald News
July 30, 2018
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.
The freight is 3.5 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, said John Greuling, chief executive officer of the Will County Center for Economic Development.
The numbers generated from a Will County freight study done for the CED will be used in making the case for more federal and state funding to speed up I-80 improvement plans, Greuling told an audience at a Monday luncheon for the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
“We’re going to lobby for this,” Greuling said. “We’re going to tell them that we have all this freight coming through the county. We have all these trucks. You have to pay us more.”
Payment would come in the form of funding for I-80 improvements to move traffic more efficiently and safely through the county, he said.
“We know that freight volume is a safety issue. It’s a huge safety issue,” Greuling said. “I-80 is probably the poster child for that.”
The I-80 Coalition was announced in late June and is in the process of incorporating itself into a nonprofit group. Members include representatives from government, business and labor.
The focus is a 16-mile corridor of I-80 that runs from U.S. 30 in New Lenox to Ridge Road in Minooka. The Illinois Department of Transportation has long-term plans for improvements along the stretch but total costs are estimated at $1 billion.
Some I-80 projects are already in the works, including reconstruction of the interchange at U.S. 30, Greuling said. Also, funding is in place for deck improvements and wider shoulders on several I-80 bridges. Other potential projects include rebuilding the Chicago Street interchange, replacing the Des Plaines River bridge and adding lanes.
I-80 Coalition News
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Will County sees bonanza of infrastructure improvements
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.read more
IDOT Holds Informational Meetings For Residents That Will Be Affected By I-80 Reconfiguration IDOT has been meeting with residents who live around I-80 and the Des Plaines River during Phase 1 of the I-80 reconfiguration. IDOT met with resident this past June and...read more
Pritzker signed the capital bill and kicked off his day in East St. Louis, then continued on to the Lincoln Depot State Historic Site in Springfield and held another event in the afternoon within sight of the infamous Interstate 80 bridge across the Des Plaines River, set to be replaced as part of $1.2 billion in the plan earmarked for multiple bridge replacements and road upgrades in Joliet and Will County.read more
The new interchange is expected to be complete in late 2021.
NEW LENOX, IL — Traffic will be shifted for the reconstruction of the I-80 – US 30 interchange in New Lenox starting June 3. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, traffic will be shifted to the right on the eastbound lanes between Gougar and Francis roads during the overnight hours on Monday, weather permitting.read more
Included in a statewide construction plan that addresses hospitals, schools and roadways will be funding dedicated to repairs ensuring the long-term safety of the I-80 bridge spanning the Des Plaines River. The plan passed with support from State Senators Pat McGuire and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.read more
Governor has proposed funding for aging infrastructure’s replacement
Inspectors this week are completing an annual examination of the Interstate 80 bridges that state officials say is done to assure they are safe to drive on, despite the need for repairs.read more
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.read more