Will County study proposes designated truck routes

The study suggested eight routes to keep trucks off of roads where stakeholders agreed they should not go

A semitrailer turns onto Walter Strong Drive off of Route 53 Aug. 15 in Elwood. County officials anticipate a greater regional effort in 2015 in addressing the area's ever-growing semitrailer traffic problem from the two trucking intermodals in Joliet and Elwood.

A team conducting a truck routing study for Will County has completed its review and published its suggestions for which corridors to designate as truck 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 purpose of such a study was to clearly signal to the trucking industry where the community wants trucks to travel. It will also help municipalities and agencies plan for future capital improvements which could be appropriate to better allow for truck movement.

The study suggested truck route designations for:

• Route 52

• Laraway Road

• Jefferson Street

• Maple Road (Route 6)

• Schweitzer Road

• Caton Farm Road/Bruce Road

• Joliet-Elwood industrial district

• Bolingbrook-Romeoville industrial district

The proposed routes were determined primarily on existing truck travel patterns and how to most directly connect industrial areas in Will County to interstates, while avoiding “sensitive areas,” according to a summary of the project.

At least two of the routes would require some further work.

Since Route 52 runs through downtown Manhattan, local officials have discussed the possibility of creating a new bypass to the west and south of the village. That way, trucks would be able to avoid the tighter downtown area and local schools.

The planned Caton Farm Road/Bruce Road corridor would require an additional crossing of the Des Plaines River to connect the two roads and create a new east-west roadway.

The study team from the Lakota Group spent months holding public virtual workshops on the study, held 18 stakeholder interviews and focus groups, and fielded hundreds of online comments on the proposed routes, according to the project summary.

While the study is completed, the suggestions it came to will have to be adopted by the county and maybe other local governments to fully implement its proposals.

Nick Palmer, the chief of staff to the Will County Board who worked on the project when he served in the same roll to the previous county executive, said the board could begin to discuss the study’s findings in the new year.

For information on the study, including its findings, visit MovingWillCounty.com.