Lawrence M. Walsh
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet today to announce funding for a significant regional transportation project in Will County, a bridge over the Des Plaines River at Houbolt Road.
“I was pleased to welcome Governor Rauner and Illinois Secretary of Transportation Randy Blankenhorn to Will County today to launch a major public-private partnership,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “I was proud to hear both of them talk about the transportation infrastructure needs in Will County. Working with Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk, the leadership at Centerpoint, and other stakeholders, we can move this project forward.”
“Illinois is the transportation hub of America and Will County is the transportation hub of Illinois,” Rauner said. “This bridge has been discussed for years and now is the time to act.”
Rauner went on to say the bridge would be financed through a public private partnership with Centerpoint Properties funding approximately $150-170 million and the state contributing $21 million to the project.
“Will County is an economic catalyst to the entire region,” Walsh said. “This is a great time to build a road that will positively change the landscape of transportation in Will County. This is a great example of public and private sectors working together to solve regional transportation issues.”
Will County is home to the largest inland port and more than $75 billion in goods are imported and exported through the two intermodals, Union Pacific Joliet and Burlington Northern Santa Fe in Elwood. The new bridge will improve access to Interstate 80 across the Des Plaines River.
“This project also has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Will County,” Walsh said. “Will County continues to be a key player in the global marketplace and this bridge will benefit our transportation needs well into the future. At the end of the day, safety is the most important issue in Will County. We are now going to build a bridge that will enhance access to our intermodals and strengthen transportation across the entire region.”
In addition to the county and the state, other key stakeholders include the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the City of Joliet, Centerpoint Properties, and other private investors. The new bridge will be tolled through the Illinois Toll Bridge Act, through a resolution from the Will County Board. Centerpoint Properties will operate and maintain the bridge.
Rauner said construction will begin in 2017 and is expected to be complete late 2018, early 2019.