Lockport, Homer area reps push for new road study
Susan DeMar LaffertyContact ReporterDaily Southtown
They contend that the “middle road” part of a proposed $600 million project is not needed
Homer Glen, Lockport and Homer and Lockport townships will pay consultants to re-evaluate a proposed new road that the four local governments no longer want.
The road would be part of a $600 million bridge and road project would run for 111/2 miles from Caton Farm Road and U.S. 30 in Crest Hill, over the Des Plaines River in Lockport to 159th Street and Cedar Road in Homer Glen.
Local officials agree on the need for a second bridge over the river to relieve traffic volume on the 9th Street bridge in downtown Lockport, which handles about 24,700 vehicles per day.
But representatives of the two towns and townships have questioned the need for a new “middle road” between Cedar and Gougar roads in the plan to connect Bruce Road to 159th Street. They’ve pointed out that there are three north-south roads within 11/2 miles — Interstate 355, Cedar Road and Gougar Road — in contending that a fourth road is not necessary.
And they’re willing to pay up to $390,000 to engineer an alternative route that would connect Bruce Road to I-355, allowing traffic to use I-355 to reach 159th Street and Cedar Road.
Lockport and Homer Glen and Lockport and Homer townships were all represented on the Transportation Corridor Committee that initially planned and approved the bridge and road project in 2009. The four governments now say eliminating the north-south middle road makes sense and makes the project less expensive.
“So many things have changed in the last five years,” Lockport City Administrator Ben Benson told the Will County Board’s public works committee Tuesday. “This (alternative) makes more sense. We need to get all TCC members on board.”
The public works committee asked the Transportation Corridor Committee to reconvene and consider the request to do away with the middle road. The TCC includes representatives of all governments in the corridor, including Will County, Homer Glen, New Lenox, Lockport, Crest Hill and Joliet and Homer, Lockport and Plainfield townships.
Benson said if the TCC decides that the route should not be changed “we will live with that outcome.”
If additional engineering studies are done, it could take up to three years to complete them, according to Bruce Gould, director of the Will County Division of Transportation.
Others are opposed to another portion of the project — the widening of Oak Avenue through the unincorporated Fairmont community in Lockport Township.
Valerie Broadhurst, representing the Fairmont Community Partnership, told the committee that making what’s now a two-lane rural road into a five-lane highway would have significant impacts on the impoverished area.
But the Fairmont part of the corridor will not be part of the engineering study, Gould said. He said studies that will evaluate the project’s environmental, social and economic impacts on Fairmont and all communities in the corridor have not yet been completed.