Will County refines long-range transportation goals

Photo by Laura Katauskas An open house to seek input regarding the 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan was recently held at Romeoville Village Hall.

By Laura Katauskas | Bugle Staff

It’s no secret most motorists would like to see an end to traffic but how to get there is a process years in the making.

In its desire to create a transportation system that is healthy and viable over time, the Will County Division of Transportation is looking to update its 2030 plan to a new 2040 long-range transportation plan and is seeking county-wide input.

Through the Will Connects 2040 development process, the county is setting to plan for growth and set priorities for future transportation investments in Will County.

A series of open house meetings were held throughout Will County including an open house Jan. 27 at the Romeoville Village Hall.

Community input is essential in building a constrained plan that can be then used once a budget is established, explained Christina Kupkowski, PE, Phase I, project manager.

The transportation department laid out several scenarios for a long-term transportation plan, essentially using one phase as a building block to the next scenario.

The fundamental element running through each scenario is the widening of both Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 to eight lanes.

Moving on to the second scenario involves seeking the input of all agencies involved including the Illinois Department of Transportation, Pace, Metra, RTA and local agencies to create a list of priorities.

The crux of building the plan is coming up with the scenario that will not only be beneficial but realistic over the next 25 years and within the constraints of budget.

For instance Scenario 2 has both a plan A and B; one that includes the Illiana Expressway and one that does not.
In addition to the widening of the interstates, several transportation projects including the Houbolt Road bridge, several new service commuter lines on Pace and Metra, and the widening of Laraway Road and Route 30, among others, are incorporated.

Scenario 3 basically comes down to a wish list if all projects could be completed.

“We are just trying to be good stewards of tax payers dollars which we endeavor to do every day,” said Kupkowski. “This plan gives us a way to look at prioritizing projects.”

Those in attendance were given stickers to place on a chart to identify where they would like their money spent, from road expansion and street completion to bike paths and commuter rails.

At the Romeoville open house, attendees indicated they would rather their dollars fund road expansion and bridge completion.

“We want everyone’s input and to be involved,” said Kupkowski. “You’re the ones that live here, works here and will make the most out of what happens in the next 25 years.”

Individuals can still take the online survey until April at WillConnects2040.org. Once all results are in, an advisory committee will craft a plan and bring it back to the public mid-summer.

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