JOLIET – The Joliet City Council this week turned down an agreement with Crest Hill that one councilman called “a slap in the face” to residents who objected to truck traffic on Division Street.
The agreement would have shared costs between the two towns for intersection improvements already underway at Division Street and Gaylord Road.
The intersection is partially in Crest Hill and partially in Joliet.
However, Councilman Larry Hug said at the council meeting Tuesday that the intersection will facilitate truck traffic along a route that Joliet tried to block in a federal lawsuit.
Hug said he still gets complaints from Joliet and Crest Hill residents who live in the area about truck traffic from the Crest Hill Business Park, which also borders the intersection.
He said that for Joliet to spend money on the intersection improvements “would be a slap in the face to the residents who were and still are very opposed to an industrial park in the middle of a residential area.”
Hug is chairman of the council’s Public Service Committee, which voted, 3-0, to reject the agreement. The full council then voted, 6-2, to reject the agreement.
Hug said that the intersection still will be completed. “We’re not stopping them. It should be completely on their dime,” he said.
The work underway aims to straighten out an intersection that was misaligned, and add traffic lights to what previously was a four-way stop.
Joliet had tried to block truck traffic from the industrial park on a Division Street route that leads to the Louis Joliet Mall shopping district along Route 30. The route also goes past the Heritage Lakes subdivision in Joliet and other homes along the way.
The Joliet lawsuit sought to require that trucks coming out of the business park take Weber Road to Interstate 55. The intersection improvements are being made as Amazon prepares to open a fulfillment center this fall in the Crest Hill Business Park.
“[The vote is] not going to stop the project,” Crest Hill Village Administrator Heather McGuire said Wednesday.
McGuire said the details of the agreement between Crest Hill and Joliet were worked out in 2014. The agreement provides for Crest Hill to pay the costs of the intersection improvements, while Joliet would pay for future maintenance of the traffic signals.
The project costs are about $800,000, most of it covered by a federal grant. Crest Hill costs are estimated about $150,000.
The cost of maintaining the traffic lights would be “a couple of thousand dollars a year,” Joliet Public Works Director James Trizna told the council.
Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman said his city plans to discuss the matter with Joliet officials.
“The city of Crest Hill has always had a great relationship with the city of Joliet, and I expect that to continue,” Soliman said.