Next phase of construction along I-80 to begin
Gov. JB Pritzker announces that the state is investing $32 million to help rebuild the I-80 interchange during a virtual news conference Thursday. The interchange is expected to alleviate congestion and improve safety for drivers. (Credit: Office of Gov. JB Pritzker)
State to invest $32 million into I-80 road improvements
By GRACE KINNICUTT
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced the beginning of the next phase of construction along the Interstate 80 corridor that will modernize Houbolt Road in Joliet.
The state investment in the public-private partnership is $32 million, according to the governor, who continues to highlight the ongoing benefits of one of his major first-year legislative accomplishment, the Rebuild Illinois capital infrastructure plan. The infrastructure plan passed with bipartisan support in 2019.
The state’s investment will widen the road and reconfigure the I-80 interchange into a diverging, diamond design.
“This project will go a long way to alleviate congestion and improve safety,” Omer Osman, Illinois Department of Transportation director, said. “The work that will be taking place here over the next several years is transformational.”
Improvements are expected to minimize emissions caused by traffic, cut down a long commute, make the daily drive safer and provide more business to the surrounding communities.
“These improvements are making it safer and more efficient for truck drivers [and] tens of thousands of commuters and families who drive this interstate as they navigate their daily lives,” Pritzker said.
CenterPoint Properties, an inland port where goods are transferred between freight trains, is investing up to $170 million that will go towards building a new toll bridge on Houbolt Road over the Des Plaines River. The toll bridge will provide I-80 access to CenterPoint’s intermodal facilities in Joliet and Elwood that will bring more opportunities to workers, logistic companies and industries that rely on the infrastructure of the region.
“I’m happy to see the progress being made on the construction of the Houbolt Road Bridge. We know, moving forward, the critical role this will play as development continues around the two intermodal ports in our region,” Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said.
A portion of I-80 to U.S. Route 6 is expected to be completed this October with a portion of I-80 and the interchange to be completed by the summer of 2023.
Work is expected to begin on Houbolt Road with relocating utilities this winter followed by construction in the spring. Houbolt Road construction is part of Rebuild Illinois’ vision to rebuild 16 miles of I-80 over the next six years. Construction along I-80 began this past summer that replaced more than 50-year-old infrastructure.
“It’s going to make the highway safer for our residents, better for transportation [and] it’s going to help us advance as an economic center here in Will County,” Sen. John Connor, D-Lockport, said.
The project is part of Rebuild Illinois that is expected to invest $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system, create jobs and promote economic growth. It is the largest program in state history to improve all modes of transportation across the state.
The city of Joliet will oversee the $33.5 million Houbolt Road project.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.