Plans begin for Route 6 widening in Joliet and Channahon

But construction could be years away

Route 6 — Plans are being made for future widening of a stretch of Route 6 in Joliet and Channahon, although construction is at least three years away.

The two towns and Will County are eying an expansion of the two-lane highway from Interstate 55 to Hollywood Road.

The corridor is likely to become more busy starting next year with the completion of the Houbolt Road bridge, which will bring semitrailers coming out of the CenterPoint Intermodal Center to the intersection of Route 6 and Hollywood.

Route 6 also will be used by workers for the future Lion Electric Company bus and truck factory on Youngs Road, which is slated to open later this year and expected to eventually employ at least 1,400 workers.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk noted the increased development along Route 6 on Tuesday as the City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with Channahon and Will County setting terms for funding the first phase of engineering.

The Joliet City Council this week voted to spend $603,000 for the city’s share of the engineering study. Channahon pays $464,000, and Will County pays $533,000.

The money amounts to half the cost of the study with the Illinois Department of Transportation expected to contribute the other half.

Whether Route 6 actually should be widened still must be determined.

“That will come out of the study,” Joliet Public Works Director Greg Ruddy said. “I would say it’s most likely.”

The study will take about a year and will be a followed by a phase-two engineering study, meaning construction could be several years away.

“Realistically, it’s probably two or three years before you have a design plan [for the improvements],” Ruddy said. “Then, we have to find construction money.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation has indicated support, he said.

Construction funding for the Route 6 project is not in IDOT’s 2022-2027 Highway Improvement Program. But IDOT is considering a contribution to help pay for engineering and environmental studies, spokeswoman Maria Castaneda said.