Will County study team asks residents about potential truck routes

New designated truck routes meant to alleviate traffic throughout region

The team conducting a truck routing study for Will County has begun seeking input from residents about which corridors to designate as routes to alleviate traffic elsewhere in the region.

The Moving Will County project is a partnership between the county and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning that combines two studies centered on truck routing and land use strategy.

The goal is to achieve "a balance between truck traffic and routing, existing freight land use clusters and new development, agricultural business, natural and cultural resources and residential areas," according to a project summary.

On Thursday, members of the study team hosted a virtual town hall on a list of potential truck routes for attendees to consider.

The team members gave an overview of the scope of the truck routing aspect of the project, which considered routes in a large section of western Will County stretching from Bolingbrook in the north to south of the Wilmington area. The project considers many routes around the Interstates 55 and 80 corridors, where much of the truck traffic problems occur.

"We are tasked with developing a plan for an improved truck route network, which will help identify future transportation capital improvements," said Jacque Henrikson, a senior planner from Civiltech, the lead consultant on the Moving Will County project.

On Thursday, Henrikson cited a previous study by Will County on freight mobility, which determined that the lack of a continuous system of designated truck routes in the region causes safety and quality of life concerns for local communities.

The team spent the bulk of the meeting going through eight "key routes" and asked attendees whether they thought any of them would be appropriate to designate as a truck route. Ultimately, the study will recommend some of these possible sections of roads to be designated truck routes within a short- or long-term period of time.

The key corridors included:

• Manhattan Road from Route 53 to Cherry Hill Road

• Schweitzer Road from Route 53 to Cherry Hill Road

• Briggs Street from I-80 to Route 52

• Route 52 from Route 53 to Route 45

• Laraway Road from Centerpoint Way to Gougar Road

• Maple Road/Route 6 from Route 171 to Interstate 355

• Jefferson Street from I-55 to Route 30

• Wilmington-Peotone Road from Route 53 to Drecksler Road.

During the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to vote on whether these corridors should be considered for a truck route designation.

The team said these potential routes are worth analyzing because they are near locations with the potential for substantial land use changes. Local municipal officials and organizations also had given their opinions on these routes.

"It's really testing the appetite for some of these potentially needed improvements," said Nick Palmer, chief of staff to the Will County Executive.

One of the planners on Thursday argued that local municipalities could have a better chance at earning federal funding to complete improvements on these roads because of this study.

Although only about 100 people were in virtual attendance during Thursday's meeting, the public can give feedback on these potential truck routes on the website dedicated to the study. The public can use an interactive Wiki map to add a comment on a specific road under consideration.

For information, visit MovingWillCounty.org.

The last day for comments on the potential truck routes is Sept. 8, and a revised map will be published on the website in mid-September.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.