Jackson Township adds voice against NorthPoint access to Route 53 in Joliet

Supervisor Matt Robbins sent letter last week

An aerial view of two warehouse distribution centers built by the NorthPoint group near the intersection of Noel Road and Illinois Route 53 in Elwood. NorthPoint is developing the Third Coast Intermodal Hub, a warehouse development of more than 2,000 acres stretching from Joliet to Elwood.

Jackson Township officially has joined the opposition against Route 53 access for NorthPoint Development.

Township Supervisor Matt Robbins on May 9 sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Transportation opposing the access.

NorthPoint has sought temporary access to Route 53 after it was blocked from using Millsdale Road to move future goods from warehouse space already developed because of a court order. A Will County judge issued the temporary restraining order in March as a lawsuit proceeds between NorthPoint and rival developer CenterPoint Properties.

“The ‘temporary’ access could be in effect for years,” Robbins wrote in his letter to IDOT, noting that there is “no end in sight” to the litigation between the two developers.

Robbins and Jackson Township Assessor Delilah LeGrett already had voiced their opposition to the Route 53 access at a Joliet City Council meeting two days before the letter was sent.

An aerial view of distribution centers for the NorthPoint group near the intersection of Noel Road and Illinois Route 53 on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024 in Elwood. NorthPoint is developing the Third Coast Intermodal Hub, a warehouse development of more than 2,000 acres stretching from Joliet to Elwood.

The land being developed is in both the city of Joliet and Jackson Township.

City Manager Beth Beatty in April sent a letter to IDOT saying that Joliet supports the temporary access.

Since then, state Sen. Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, and state Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, have sent letters to IDOT opposing the access.

Robbins, Ventura and Walsh all have been critics of the NorthPoint project for years, siding with residents who contend that it will pour more trucks onto Route 53 and local roads already overloaded with semitrailers.

The NorthPoint plan is to create what the developer calls a closed-loop road network that would provide trucks a path between its warehouses, the intermodal yards in Joliet and Elwood, and Interstates 80 and 55 without using Route 53 or other local roads.

NorthPoint CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn in an interview last week said the developer is “100% committed” to a closed-loop development to keep trucks off Route 53.

“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as we possibly can,” Hagedorn said.

NorthPoint last week filed a federal antitrust lawsuit that accuses CenterPoint of establishing a monopoly on industrial development around the intermodal yards. The NorthPoint suit seeks to regain access to Millsdale Road.

Robbins in his letter to IDOT faulted NorthPoint for building warehouses before it created the closed-loop road network required in its annexation agreement with Joliet.

“This is akin to knowingly breaching an agreement and then asking for permission after the fact,” Robbins wrote.