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Gov. Pritzker Announce I-55 Improvements, New Interchange with Illinois 59 in Will County

Press Release - Friday, September 09, 2022

JOLIET — Governor JB Pritzker today joined the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), local officials, and community leaders to announce the start of multiple improvements to Interstate 55 through Joliet and Shorewood, including several capacity, access, and safety enhancements, highlighted by a new diverging diamond interchange with Illinois 59. The $93 million project is another major investment in Will County infrastructure through Gov. Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois capital program to create jobs, improve mobility, and promote economic opportunity in a key part of the state.

"Through Joliet and Shorewood, I-55 serves nearly 60,000 vehicles a day, but there is only partial access to both communities at the Illinois 59 interchange," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Thanks to a $93 million investment from our Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, we are making several capacity, access, and safety enhancements — all while building a new diverging diamond interchange with Illinois 59. This major project to rebuild I-55 and Illinois 59 is an investment in our communities, in our families, in our workers, and in our future — one that is prosperous for all Illinoisans."

The centerpiece of the project involves IDOT building a new bridge to convert the I-55 interchange with Illinois 59 into a full-access, diverging-diamond design to improve safety and traffic flow, with the East Frontage Road relocated and reconstructed. Auxiliary lanes will be added to I-55 between the Illinois 59 and U.S. 52 interchanges to improve safety by better accommodating vehicles entering and leaving the interstate. The Illinois 59 intersection with Seil Road will be improved and modernized.

Pedestrian access will be built across I-55, with the addition of sidewalks and a multiuse trail. New noise and retaining walls also will be built along I-55.

Advance work started in 2021. The entire project is expected to take two full constructions seasons to finish, with an anticipated completion date in late 2024 or early 2025.

Because of Gov. Pritzker's commitment to I-55, the region is anticipated to benefit through planned developments in the area, including the mixed-used Rock Run Crossings, that are projected to account for $1.4 billion in economic impact and produce $53 million in state and local tax revenue. The annual benefits once the improvements are finished are estimated at $181 million in economic impact and $72 million in state and local tax revenue.

"The Rebuild Illinois capital program has been transformational for our state, and I know the project announced today will benefit our area," said Assistant Majority Leader Natalie Manley (D-Joliet). "I'd like to thank Gov. Pritzker for funding these critical improvements to Interstate 55, which will absolutely further the safety and efficiency of Will County's transportation infrastructure."

"I-55 serves as an economic lifeline for our region," said Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). "Throughout the years, this roadway has become known as one of the state's main logistics and distribution corridors. This has cemented Will County as an economic hub for our region. These improvements will ensure our communities are able to meet the needs of tomorrow."

"Our highways, roads, and bridges connect our communities and provide businesses with a network to expand and grow throughout our region," said Senator Eric Mattson (D-Joliet). "The investments we are making here will help create jobs, promote safe conditions for drivers and further set the stage for economic development in Will County."

"This significant investment in Will County's infrastructure will improve road safety, create jobs and support economic opportunity in our area," said state Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr. (D-Elwood). "Will County and the 86th district are key parts of Illinois, and I am glad we are receiving the infrastructure investments we need."

Working on the project will be graduates of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, an IDOT-initiative partnering with South Suburban College in South Holland and Kennedy-King College in Chicago to provide minority and female students the opportunity to get on-the-job experience toward full-time work and a career in the construction trades.

Many other programmed road and bridge improvements in Will County are made possible by Rebuild Illinois, Gov. Pritzker's historic, bipartisan capital program, including the $1.2 billion reconstruction of Interstate 80 and four other I-55 interchanges: $170.1 million for Airport Road/Lockport Road and at Illinois 126 in Romeoville as well as $140.4 million for Lorenzo Road and Illinois 129 near Braidwood. Also programmed in IDOT's six-year multiyear program is $86.9 million for reconstruction and widening of U.S 52 from River Road to Houbolt Road in Joliet and Shorewood.

In addition, the new $80 million Weber Road diverging-diamond interchange with I-55 in Romeoville and Bolingbrook will be substantially complete later this fall.

"Under Gov. Pritzker's leadership, IDOT is delivering a multitude of transportation improvements that will solidify Will County as one the country's major inland ports and a jobs creator for the state," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "Projects like these all across Illinois are improving quality of life and making our state an ideal location to start a career, build a business and raise a family."

For local governments in Will County, Rebuild Illinois has meant an added $45.1 million in motor fuel tax revenues over the past three years to advance projects. Also, local governments have received $51.1 million in Will County as part of $1.5 billion earmarked for municipal, township, and county projects in Rebuild Illinois for road and bridge improvements, traffic signal upgrades, new storm sewers, sidewalk replacements and other long-term maintenance needs statewide.

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing $33.2 billion into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

Accomplishments through Year Three of Rebuild Illinois include approximately $8.6 billion of improvements statewide on 4,422 miles of highway, 412 bridges and 621 additional safety improvements.

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