Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan Wins ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards
Will County has been awarded the 2018 Engineering Excellence “Honor Award” and “Best in Category” for its Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois. The council described the county’s plan as innovative and collaborative.
“We are thrilled the county has been recognized for the forward-thinking planning process that prepares our infrastructure and workforce for the rapid growth of freight movement in our county,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
Will County has experienced unprecedented growth in the freight industry, with an increase of 138 percent in freight-related jobs. This growth also stimulated more than 100 million square feet of industrial development. However, road infrastructure has not adapted to safely accommodate this growth.
Will County and the Will County Center for Economic Development (CED) formed a public-private partnership, including several agencies and associations to develop the new freight plan. CDM Smith Inc., an engineering firm, was hired to develop this innovative plan to both prioritize investments in infrastructure and prepare a workforce for the freight industry.
“One of the key reasons for the plan was to provide an analysis to compete for federal and state dollars,” said John Greuling, President and CEO of Will County Center for Economic Development. “The plan denoted Will County’s significance to the regional and national economies. The plan provided great insight to the transportation challenges in Will County to the federal congressional delegation and leadership at the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
The new plan emphasizes improvements to make freight more community and environmentally friendly. The Freight Plan provides guidance for local freight policies, programs, and investments, while also creating a quantitative, performance-driven process to assist the County in identifying a discrete set of strategic, high-priority freight projects.
"Recognition by the ACEC is a milestone for Will County as this Freight Plan not only affects the future of our County but the Region," said County Board Speaker Jim Moustis.
During the study, the project team sought input from Will County freight businesses, residents, and community leaders. Additional project contributors included Illinois Department of Transportation, Will County Governmental League, Federal Highway Administration, Will County Workforce Investment Board, Joliet Arsenal Development Authority, Illinois Soybean Association, and the Three Rivers Association of Realtors.
“By conducting surveys, interviews, and forums with hundreds of community participants, we were able to further understand the conditions on the ground. It was truly a collaborative effort,” said Christopher Martel, Vice President with CDM Smith.
To view the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan, visit the website: www.willcountyfreight.org.