Lawrence M. Walsh
At the March meeting of the Will County Board, members voted to adopt the Long Range Transportation Plan known as Will Connects 2040. This plan will be a blueprint to transform the county’s transportation plan over the next 25 years.
“The transportation needs of our county have changed dramatically over the past ten years,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “The Will Connects 2040 plan has studied our present and future needs, identified potential funding sources, and has determined a set of strategic investment priorities to move our county forward. As the world’s largest inland port and the one of the fastest growing counties in the state, I am proud we are taking this proactive initiative in planning for our future.”
"Will County will continue to develop infrastructure to better serve our residents, which is why it is important to keep an updated transportation plan,” said Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis. “Will Connects 2040 will provide a guide for future development projects so we can make sure we address the needs of residents with ample planning and funding."
The Will Connects 2040 plan outlines the investment priorities for county roadways based upon future financial outcomes. The plan selected projects with reasonable revenues and expenditures anticipated through 2040 while maintaining the funding commitment to existing county roads.
"This plan is necessary for Will County to obtain federal and state funding for future transportation projects,” said Don Gould, chairman of the public works and transportation committee. “Our transportation department is very confident that this plan put forth will identify and meet county needs in the future."
The Will Connects 2040 plan has been divided into two scenarios – with the proposed Illiana Expressway and without the Illiana. Many projects within this plan are based on future plans for the Illiana. Under both scenarios, plans will advance critical 1-80 projects and will explore opportunities to alleviate traffic in congested areas.
“It was critical that we continue to move forward with our overall plans to improve safety across Will County,” said Jeff Ronaldson, director of transportation. “We cannot wait for a decision on the Illiana and many of our roadways need improvement now to accommodate East to West traffic patterns.”
Under the plan, investment priorities were selected in a number of ways: travel demand, public input, and alignment with future county goals.
"Will County residents should feel comfortable that this long-term plan takes into consideration that development plans for the Illiana and South Suburban Airport are still up in the air,” said Don Moran, Public Works and Transportation Committee Member. “This transportation plan provides a road map for development with and without these projects, allowing Will County to move forward with beneficial future transportation priorities without a hitch."
The Will Connects 2040 plan recommends a combination of roadway improvements, complementary transit services, and bikeway facilities as the most effective way to help people and goods move across the county. For more information about this study, visit the website: www.willconnects2040.org.