State launches next phase of I-80 corridor construction in Joliet: ‘A game changer for this community’

The state investment in the $200 million public-private partnership is $32 million, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. CenterPoint Properties, an inland port, is investing up to $170 million to build a new toll bridge on Houbolt Road over the Des Plaines River.

SHARE State launches next phase of I-80 corridor construction in Joliet: ‘A game changer for this community’
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, center, joins other state and local officials to announce construction on the new Houbolt Road bridge and interchange in Joliet on Thursday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, center, joins other state and local officials to announce construction on the new Houbolt Road bridge and interchange in Joliet at a news conference at Joliet Junior College on Thursday.

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SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced the beginning of the next phase of construction along the Interstate 80 corridor, a widening and reconfiguring of Houbolt Road in Joliet that an administration official promised would be “transformational.”

The state investment in the $200 million public-private partnership is $32 million, Pritzker said, highlighting the ongoing benefits of one of his major first-year legislative accomplishments, the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

Legislators passed the sweeping statewide infrastructure project with bipartisan support in 2019.

The state’s investment in the Houbolt Road project will widen the road and reconfigure the I-80 interchange into a diverging, diamond design.

Omer Osman, director of the Illinois Department of Transportation, speaks at a news conference at Joliet Junior College on Thursday.

Omer Osman, director of the Illinois Department of Transportation, speaks at a news conference at Joliet Junior College on Thursday.

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“This project will go a long way to alleviate congestion and improve safety,” said Omer Osman, director of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “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 long commutes, 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.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that the state is investing $32 million to help rebuild the I-80 interchange during a news conference in Joliet on Thursday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that the state is investing $32 million to help rebuild the I-80 interchange during a news conference in Joliet on Thursday.

Provided by Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker

“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 relocation of utilities this winter followed by construction in the spring. Houbolt Road construction is a Rebuild Illinois project slated to rebuild 16 miles of I-80 over the next six years. Construction along I-80 began this past summer.

The city of Joliet, also investing in the public-private partnership, will oversee the $33.5 million project.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, center, speaks at a news conference at Joliet Junior College on Thursday.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, center, speaks at a news conference at Joliet Junior College on Thursday.

“The Houbolt Road Interchange Project is a game changer for this community,” Assistant Majority Leader Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), said in a written statement.

State Sen. John Connor, D-Lockport, said, “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.”

Overall, Rebuild Illinois is expected to invest $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system with the promise of creating jobs and promoting economic growth. It is the largest program in state history to improve all modes of transportation across the state.

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.

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