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Local News

Joliet Gateway Center work to get gritty for commuters

JOLIET – The construction of a new downtown Joliet transportation center is going to get inconvenient for commuters for the next several weeks.

The city has begun a campaign to inform commuters and residents of a series of seven street and parking lot closings that will occur during the next several weeks because of the construction of the Joliet Gateway Center downtown.

The impact begins Thursday when the New Street pedestrian tunnel is closed until May 22. Various project will take place until June 19.

Project Manager Lisa Dorothy gave a report Tuesday to the City Council, saying sandwich boards will be posted in the construction area and maps will be handed out to inform commuters of the assorted closings.

The biggest item is the closing of a one-block section of Jefferson Street, between Scott Street and Arthur Schultz Drive, from June 4 to 19.

A map outlining what areas will be closed and on what dates also has been posted on the city website,

“The impact on our commuters and residents is going to be significant and, unfortunately, unavoidable,” Dorothy said after the meeting. “It’s the pedestrian pathways that are going to be impinged the most.”

She noted that the closing of Jefferson Street will include the sidewalks, which will affect pedestrians as well as motorists.

Road work farther west

Meanwhile, farther west on Jefferson Street, intersection and traffic signal improvements will be completed at Caterpillar Drive.

The council approved spending nearly $168,000 in previously approved city incentives for the project, which totals $450,000. The remainder of the costs will be paid by the developer of the new commercial strip that includes an Aldi store, Chipotle restaurant and other users.

“We’ll make sure that construction starts after the light at the Inwood facility is complete,” City Manager Jim Hock said. Work began this week on a new traffic light being built about a block west on Jefferson Street outside of the Joliet Park District’s Inwood complex. That job is expected to be done in mid-August.

Local bidder law

The council approved an ordinance that gives local bidders a chance to match lowest bids from companies outside of the area on city work and purchases.

Companies in Will, Grundy and Kendall counties would qualify if they are within 2 percent of the low bid and no more than $20,000 higher. The local bidder would be awarded the contract if it agrees to match the low bid from a company outside of the three counties.

“The idea is to decrease unemployment – keep our local businesses operating and keep our Joliet residents employed,” said Councilman Jim McFarland, who proposed the ordinance.

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