Bertino-Tarrant vetoes Will County Board actions on 143rd Street plan

Narrow County Board majority favors narrower expansion plan

Traffic moves along 143rd Street on an open stretch of road between Lemont and Bell Road on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 in Homer Township.

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant has vetoed another three County Board resolutions aimed at stopping the planned expansion of a Homer Township stretch of 143rd Street to five lanes.

The road expansion has been planned for years but faces opposition from Homer Township residents who have said it will draw too much traffic, eat up too much of their land and spoil the rural landscape.

The County Board passed three resolutions on March 21, all on 10-9 votes, that would have directed the state’s attorney’s office to take up a legal fight to reverse a previous Bertino-Tarrant veto of a resolution to halt the widening.

Bertino-Tarrant vetoed all three resolutions Tuesday, noting in her veto messages that they violated state law because county boards do not have the authority to direct state’s attorneys to take legal action.

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant speaks at the Will County board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 in Joliet.

Even without Bertino-Tarrant’s veto, it appeared unlikely that the state’s attorney’s office would take the action directed by the County Board. Representatives from the state’s attorney’s office said as much March 21 and told the County Board before it voted on the resolutions that Bertino-Tarrant’s original veto on the 143rd Street issue was legitimate.

The County Board on March 21 also tried to override Bertino-Tarrant’s veto on the 143rd Street widening resolution. That 10-9 vote in favor of the override fell short of the three-fifths majority needed to reverse a county executive veto.

The plan is to widen 143rd Street between Bell and Lemont roads to five lanes, which would include two lanes in each direction and a middle lane for turns. The road widening is intended to accommodate growing traffic in the area.

The County Board resolution to halt the five-lane plan would have allowed a widening to three lanes, which would have kept one lane in each direction while adding a middle turn lane.