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Love's Travel Stops plans truck stop in Joliet

JOLIET – Love’s Travel Stops wants to build one of its truck stops at the Briggs Street interchange with Interstate 80.

The plan is the latest of three to be made public by companies that want to open truck stops in the city’s growing warehouse and logistics district on the south end of Joliet.

But Love’s project faces questions because of concerns that overnight truck parking might not suit the location, which is next to a residential area.

A Love’s representative on Wednesday told the Joliet City Council Land Use and Legislative Committee that he was advised by city staff to get the committee’s opinion on overnight parking.

“If there isn’t overnight parking, Love’s plans on walking away from the project,” said Nick Herschberger, a civil engineer working on the project for Love’s.

Herschberger said Love’s has overnight truck parking at all of its other truck stops. The Oklahoma City-based company has 431 locations in 41 states, according to its website.

Committee members said they first wanted more information from Love’s, including other locations where the company has built truck stops next to residential areas, before making a recommendation.

Love’s plans a truck stop with fuel pumps for both trucks and cars, a convenience store, gift shop, showers for truckers and two fast-food restaurants, which tentatively are slated to be McDonald’s and Subway, Herschberger said.

It would be a 24-hour operation with 90 spaces for car parking and 66 spaces for truck parking. It would include a tire-repair garage.

Love’s is looking at a 12-acre site at the northwest corner of Briggs Street and New Lenox Road. The land would be annexed to the city of Joliet.

“I think it would be a good thing,” committee Chairman Terry Morris said of the project. “But with the residents right behind it, it’s going to be an issue.”

Another problem, he said, would be keeping trucks off New Lenox Road, which already has become a problem.

“We get a ton of complaints,” Morris said.

Joliet has two truck and auto stops at Route 53 and Laraway Road – Route 66 Food N Fuel, which opened in 2013, and Pilot Travel Center, which opened in 2015.

Route 66 Food N Fuel plans to open a second location in CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet and will appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday for a special-use permit. Speedway is in the process of working out an annexation agreement for a truck and auto stop at Route 53 and Emerald Drive.

The Love’s Travel Stop would be “a typical truck stop,” Kendall Jackson, the city’s community development director, told the committee. But, he said, “This is the first truck stop we’ve seen along an interstate that happens to be next to existing residential.”

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