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Local News

Joliet to vote Tuesday on Houbolt interchange contract

JOLIET – The city is about to take another step forward on the Houbolt Road bridge and interchange project.

The Joliet City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $1.9 million contract with TranSystems Corp. for engineering services on the interchange at Interstate 80.

The cost is covered by $21 million in state funding for engineering and construction on the interchange, according to a city memo on the contract.

Councilman Larry Hug at a council workshop meeting Monday noted that the contract with TranSystems is within the $2.1 million maximum the state is allowing for phase one and two engineering costs.

The entire project is estimated to cost between $171 million and $191 million with most of the expense being a bridge to be built over the Des Plaines River connecting Houbolt Road with CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet. CenterPoint Properties is to build the toll bridge that would provide semitrailer access to I-80.

City Manager Jim Hock told the council that the divergent diamond interchange at Houbolt and I-80 will “create a smoother traffic flow onto I-80, especially for trucks.”

The estimated cost of the interchange and Houbolt Road improvements are to be paid by the state unless costs exceed the $21 million budget.

The council, however, in January did approve a $398,000 contract at the city’s expense with T.Y. Lin International to act as its project manager.

Hock said a construction timetable has not yet been set for the project.

According to the city memo on the engineering contract, six firms were invited to submit qualifications for the project. Three firms were interviewed, and TranSystems is being recommended for the contract.

Kansas City-based TranSystems a year ago was awarded a $150,000 city engineering contract for the Chicago Street redesign project downtown.

Second animal control staffer

Also on Tuesday, the council is slated to vote on creating a second animal compliance coordinator to work in the office of the mayor.

The city council in February approved the creation of the position of animal compliance coordinator to serve as a liaison between the city and Joliet Township Animal Control.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said that position has not been filled, but it has been determined that two people will be needed to handle the workload. O’Dekirk said both people will be hired on a part-time basis.

City manager search

GovHR USA CEO Joellen Earl met briefly with the council to discuss a $21,000 contract to recruit a new city manager.

Hock gave notice on April 6 that he will retire May 3.

The council held a special meeting last week and agreed to hire GovHR USA, which was the recruitment firm that brought Hock to Joliet in 2013. The contract goes to the council for a vote on Tuesday.

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