“The Phase I study seeks to better accommodate travel through eastern Will County, while maintaining quality of life for residents by reducing truck traffic on local roads,” said Public Works & Transportation Committee Chair Joe VanDuyne. “This work supports economic development, promotes quality of life and improves safety for our local residents.”
Freight movement in Will County impacts travel throughout the region, state and nation. As home to the largest inland port in North America, freight is critical to the economic success of Will County. More than $65 billion in goods, including at least 3 million freight containers, travel through the county annually. Increased freight volume is contributing to traffic bottlenecks and impacting resident safety.
“We need a designated truck route in the area. The information gathered from the Eastern Will County Freight Corridor Phase I Study will help truck drivers stay on designated routes, creating a safer driving experience for our residents,” said Will County Board Member Judy Ogalla.
The study will utilize the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) approach, a type of transportation planning study conducted at the corridor or subarea level. This strategy was developed by the Federal Highway Administration and helps to streamline the subsequent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by incorporating outcomes of the PEL study into the NEPA review, rather than issuing standalone feasibility studies.
“I look forward to seeing an improved east-west corridor for Will County. Our residents deserve safe, designated truck routes,” said Will County Board Member Sherry Newquist.
The Eastern Will County Freight Corridor Phase I Study is projected to cost $3.3 million. This project is being prepared in accordance with an Illinois Department of Transportation PEL and will build upon the PEL study currently in progress for the Eastern Will County Freight corridor, anticipated for completion Summer 2022.
Current transportation work builds upon the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan finalized in 2017, and was a unique public-private partnership of Will County and the Will County Center for Economic Development. Other partners included the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Workforce Investment Board of Will County, Three River Association of Realtors, Federal Highway Administration and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
The Will County Community Freight Mobility Plan was envisioned as a multimodal freight plan providing strategies and goals to influence future freight policies, programs, projects and investments in a community-friendly manner. The Freight Plan encompasses a holistic planning approach covering freight mobility, land-use integration, workforce development, education/training and community livability.