Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials praised the plan to construct a new interchange connection to Interstate 55 near Plainfield and Romeoville.
Pritzker held a news conference Wednesday at a Plainfield park near where the new interchange will be built. He said the plans for the project had been "years in the making" and finally came to fruition with the
$45 billion capital investment bill the state passed earlier this year.
“We’re improving access to the industrial centers that drive this region’s economy, as well as the residential neighborhoods that house the people who power those industries,” Pritzker said.
The village of Romeoville announced the $181.4 million project last month. The new interchange would connect Airport Road/Lockport Street and Illinois Route 126 to the interstate highway.
Romeoville Mayor John Noak said planning for a new interchange began years ago and became a group effort among the villages of Plainfield, Romeoville and Bolingbrook.
Pritzker and local officials said the project would help ease congestion in the area, especially on Plainfield and Romeoville roads.
Noak said the municipalities intended the project to help ease congestion throughout the whole northern Will County region.
“As we all know, if there’s an accident on Weber Road, then that will tie up everything else,” Noak said.
He added that the easing of congestion will greatly benefit Romeoville commuters, and if commuters can save time driving, that’s more time to spend with their families.
Plainfield Mayor Michael Collins said providing a direct route from Route 126 to I-55 will help ease traffic through the downtown Plainfield area on Routes 59 and 30.
All of the work on the new interchange will take about four years to complete starting in 2021. The redesigned I-55 interchange at Weber Road is expected to be completed before construction begins at the Airport Road/Lockport Street interchange.
Pritzker said the Will County area was a main beneficiary of the “historic” investments the state is making in infrastructure. He said this means not only better roads and economic development, but also a “profound transformation” in state government after years of inadequate investment and neglected maintenance.
“But Illinois has a new message for the world,” Pritzker said. “We’re back, and we’re open for business.”