JOLIET – August 25, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn joined Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig and other officials today to announce a major project to reconstruct the interchange at Interstate 55 and Arsenal Road. The project is funded through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan and is expected to create or retain nearly 900 jobs.
“This major reconstruction project will create hundreds of good jobs and help attract new businesses to the Joliet area,” said Governor Quinn. “The project will also make the interchange safer for Illinois motorists and boost the economy by helping goods move more efficiently.”
The interchange project involves removing the existing Arsenal Road interchange and relocating it approximately one mile south with a new bridge, along with the configuration of a new ramp and Frontage Road. The project will help to alleviate traffic congestion, improve access and enhance roadway safety in the heavily-traveled corridor.
The new configuration includes flyover ramps to improve traffic flow, auxiliary lanes for truck acceleration/deceleration, and free-flow ramps to alleviate traffic back-ups onto I-55. This interchange project is part of an estimated $5 billion plan for road and bridge improvements across the state this year.
“We are extremely pleased to see this vital project move forward,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Hannig. “Not only will the completed interchange help alleviate congestion and improve traffic safety within the area, but it will also provide smoother access to intermodal freight terminals and will support commercial sites and - most importantly - will create jobs.”
The interchange design is configured to accommodate the traffic demands anticipated by the year 2030 with consideration given to area developments. Arsenal Road is expected to grow from approximately 5,800 vehicles per day to in 2001 to 35,900 vehicles per day by 2030. By 2030, the projected traffic on I-55 will vary from 77,200 vehicles per day south of Arsenal Road to 102,000 vehicles per day north of Arsenal Road.
Last August, Governor Quinn signed the Intermodal Facilities Promotion Act to encourage business development along the freight rail systems of Illinois. Based on experience with its existing Elwood facility, CenterPoint Properties projects 7,000 permanent new jobs being brought to Illinois through an intermodal facility in Joliet, which will also benefit from this infrastructure upgrade.
The estimated $68.7 million project, including advance work and main contracts, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012. The project is funded through Illinois Jobs Now!, a $31 billion capital construction plan that will revive the state’s ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over six years.