Next phase of construction begins along I-80

Governor JB Pritzker announces the state is investing $32 million to help rebuild the I-80 interchange during a virtual press conference Thursday. The interchange is expected to reduce traffic congestion and improve driver safety. (Credit: Office of Governor JB Pritzker)

State to Invest $32 Million to Improve I-80

Illinois Capitol News
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SPRINGFIELD — Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday the start of the next phase of construction along the Interstate 80 corridor that will upgrade Houbolt Road in Joliet.

The state’s investment in the public-private partnership is $32 million, according to the governor, who continues to emphasize the continued benefits of one of his key first-year legislative achievements, the plan to Rebuild Illinois Capital Infrastructure. The infrastructure plan was 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 reducing congestion and improving safety,” said Omer Osman, director of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “The work that will take place here over the next few years is transformational.”

Improvements should minimize traffic emissions, reduce long journeys, make daily driving safer and provide more activities for surrounding communities.

“These improvements make it safer and more efficient for truck drivers [and] tens of thousands of commuters and families who drive this highway in their daily lives,” Pritzker said.

CenterPoint Properties, an inland port where goods transfer between freight trains, is investing up to $170 million to build a new toll bridge on Houbolt Road over the Des Plaines River. The toll bridge will provide I-80 access to CenterPoint intermodal facilities in Joliet and Elwood, providing more opportunities for workers, logistics companies and industries that depend on the region’s infrastructure.

“I am happy to see the progress made in the construction of the Houbolt road bridge. We know, going forward, the critical role this will play as development continues around our region’s two intermodal ports,” said Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

Part of I-80 to U.S. Route 6 is expected to be completed in October, with part of I-80 and the interchange expected to be completed by summer 2023.

Work is expected to begin on Houbolt Road with the relocation of utilities this winter, followed by construction in the spring. The construction of Houbolt Road is part of Rebuild Illinois’ vision to rebuild 16 miles of I-80 over the next six years. Construction along I-80 began last summer and replaced infrastructure that was more than 50 years old.

“It’s going to make the highway safer for our residents, better for transportation. [and] this is going to help us move forward as an economic center here in Will County,” said Sen. John Connor, D-Lockport.

The project is part of Rebuild Illinois which is expected to invest $33.2 billion in the state’s aging transportation system, create jobs and promote economic growth. It is the largest program in state history aimed at improving 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.

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