Plans unveiled for massive I-80 improvement project

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JOLIET, Ill. — Governor Pritzker campaigned on the promise to improve the roads and bridges in Illinois.

At a hearing Wednesday, IDOT officials presented preliminary plans for a massive project along Interstate 80.

At a hearing Wednesday, residents got a chance to learn more about the project and voice their concerns.

Bob Lieb said I-80 runs right behind his backyard and the truck traffic is a nightmare.

“Every day it’s gridlock,” he said. “It moves at 3 miles an hour almost every day.”

At the hearing, IDOT officials laid out preliminary plans for reconstructing 16 miles of I-80, from Ridge Road in Minooka to U.S. 30 in Joliet and New Lenox.

Auxiliary lanes would be added or extended and a number of interchanges improved, including I-55.

Traffic, noise and environmental concerns were among residents’ complaints.

“I see no environmental commitment to addressing invasive plants that currently exist on the corridor,” Kankakee resident Steve Bohan said.

“I’m very concerned it’s going to lower the property value how many people want to live under a bridge?” Joliet resident Katherine Beavers said.

The plan also involved rebuilding the Des Plaines River Bridge.  That would require relocations for 43 residences and one business.

Project manager Steve Schilke said the start of construction is still about two to three years away. The billion-dollar project is part of the Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program.

“A project of this size, we don’t have a definitive schedule of how long it will take at this time,” Schilke said. “We’re concentrating on this corridor because of conditions and safety. We want to repair it.”

The plan also calls for eight miles of noise-reducing walls but some residents say that’s not enough.

There will be another public hearing scheduled in Joliet Thursday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at All Nation Church of God Community Life Center.



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