ELWOOD – Developers of the proposed Compass Business Park say a traffic study has shown a gateway bridge over Route 53 to the park would alleviate traffic issues in Elwood.
Residents have expressed concerns about the already existing rush hour traffic problems on Mississippi Avenue – which goes through the village core and leads to CenterPoint Intermodal – and whether the proposed $1.2 billion Compass Business Park would add to those issues with up to 15,000 employees at full buildout.
NorthPoint Development met with some residents Tuesday to discuss their concerns about traffic. They were presented with the findings of a traffic review by traffic engineering firm Kimley-Horn, according to a news release from NorthPoint’s communications team.
Kimley-Horn’s review found that the bridge would be 20 percent faster than Mississippi Street to access Compass Business Park during morning and late-afternoon/evening traffic hours. Employees coming from the west off of Interstate 55 would travel south on Elwood International Port Road and then east on Walter Strawn Road over the bridge to the park east of Route 53.
Though the gateway bridge has been pitched as the only route for semis into the Compass Business Park, the review indicates that employees of CenterPoint, west of Elwood’s core, would reach work 20-30 percent faster than if they used Mississippi Street.
“All of our findings show the bridge to be a faster direct route to Compass Park or to the existing intermodal facilities,” said Tim Sjogren, transportation engineer at Kimley-Horn. “A faster route means a faster commute, encouraging motorists to opt for the bridge and stay off Mississippi Street.”
Existing traffic on Mississippi Street is high, with more than 500 cars using it between 5 and 6 a.m. and the same number in the evening between 5 and 6 p.m., the review showed. A small number of trucks also use Mississippi Street.
The Tuesday meeting was the first in a series that NorthPoint has planned in order to answer questions and discuss concerns regarding the park proposal. Input from the meetings will help shape a final proposal that will eventually be presented to the village of Elwood, which would decide whether to annex more than 2,000 acres into the village for the park.
The Will & Grundy Counties Building Trades Council and Three Rivers Alliance have both expressed strong support for the project through letters to the village of Elwood. WGBTC President Doc Gregory called the park “modern, safe and state-of-the-art,” and a project that requires skilled labor and technical know-how.