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Steve Mauk of Channahon, who was among the many residents attending the open house, noted the need for improving the interchange at I-55, a cloverleaf where traffic coming off of I-80 often crosses paths with traffic leaving I-55.
“When I’m coming southbound on I-55, I always go into the far left lane going under the I-80 bridge,” Mauk said. “I make sure I’m not next to a semi.”
He knew someone who was killed at the interchange when her car was forced into the I-80 bridge when a semitrailer suddenly changed lanes to avoid a car merging onto I-55.
Matt Gazdziak, a civil engineer who drives I-80 from his home in Mokena to his office in Joliet, said the commute is quite different west of U.S. 30, where the interstate is two lanes, and east of U.S. 30, where it’s three lanes.
“Whenever there’s an accident, because it’s only two lanes, it really crawls,” Gazdziak said. “It’s noticeably calmer and more open as you get further east.”
While much of the attention has been focused on the stretch if I-80 in Joliet, New Lenox Township Supervisor Michael Hickey said something needs to be done about the U.S. 30 interchange, where short on and off ramps lead to traffic being jammed at the interstate.
“Every afternoon it backs up,” Hickey said, “and it’s unavoidable.”