ELWOOD – The Elwood Village Board approved motions Wednesday night designed to reduce the number of vehicles crossing the Union Pacific track on Walter Strawn Drive and using the Elwood International Port as a pass through.
Public Works Director Max Bosso said the measures are expected to reduce the number of crossings by up to 2,000 daily. At the same time, the measures are expected to also reduce truck traffic on Route 53.
A series of three traffic control measures are expected to reduce the number of vehicles that use the Elwood International Port as a pass through, Bosso said.
Those measures include: no left turns permitted from southbound Baseline Road onto Walter Strawn; West bound Walter Strawn traffic will not be permitted to turn right onto Baseline Road; and pass-through traffic will be prohibited on CenterPoint Drive.
Village President William Offerman said the measures will make travel into and out of Elwood safer “for all our residents … for anybody driving down that road. It’s a safety issue.”
The measures “should reduce a lot of the truck traffic coming south on Route 53 because they won’t be able to cross through here,” Offerman said.
Chief of Police Fred W. Hayes said after the meeting that steps are being taken to announce the changes taking place May 26, including message boards on Route 53 that say, “No Access to Joliet Intermodal Terminal from Walter Strawn.” Those message boards were flashing Wednesday.
In addition, village officials have met with local businesses and an email to some 300 trucking companies will explain the changes. Hayes said enforcement will be strict.
“We will begin to enforce the restrictions when the actual physical barriers are in place,” he said.
In related action, the board approved changing the name of CenterPoint Drive to Walton Drive. Earlier, the council had voted to change Baseline Road to Elwood International Port Road. The name changes will be effective in six months to allow existing business ample opportunity to use up existing stationery.
After the meeting, Offerman said the change to Walton Drive was made because of some confusion with CenterPoint Way in Joliet: “CenterPoint Way is up in Joliet. Sometimes we’re getting emergency calls that should be going to the other one.”