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Local News

Joliet makes plans for I-55 interchange approval

An aerial shot of Interstate 80 and Interstate 55 shows the southern view of the future site of Rock Run Crossing.
An aerial shot of Interstate 80 and Interstate 55 shows the southern view of the future site of Rock Run Crossing.

Joliet officials hope to see more developments soon on a future Interstate 55 interchange that would provide access to a future Rock Run Crossings.

Rock Run Crossings is a 265-acre project that has yet to develop despite some fanfare earlier this year with a ceremonial groundbreaking and announcement of a future 16-screen movie theater.

The city for about 15 years has been working intermittently on a major development at the site, which lies at the crossroads corner of Interstates 55 and 80.

On Tuesday, the City Council was to vote on spending $636,000 for 7.3 acres that would be used for the new, full-access I-55 interchange with Route 59.

The matter was taken off the agenda, although interim City Manager Steve Jones said the delay was because of legal technicalities that need to be resolved before the land acquisition is brought back to the council for a vote in October.

The city would acquire the land to quicken the pace of interchange construction, which has yet to be funded by the state. Jones said the state would buy the land from Joliet once funding is approved. But the city acquisition makes the property available immediately once the state is authorized to buy it.

Joliet officials hope to see interchange funding in the next Illinois Department of Transportation project plan.

“We’re waiting for IDOT’s multi-year program to be released, which is supposed to be in the next month or so,” Joliet Public Works Administrator Greg Ruddy said. “We’re hoping it will be in there.”

IDOT already has been working on the project.

The state is doing design work in anticipation of funding approval.

Also, when the existing partial Route 59 interchange was improved in the mid-2000s, the state agreed to Joliet’s request for a design that would allow future access to the Rock Run Crossings site.

At that time, O&S Development was working on a lifestyle mall, but the plans ended with the recession.

Cullinan Properties acquired the site in 2015 and plans a mixed development with retail, restaurants, hotels, housing, offices and more.

A Regal Cinema was announced in March during a groundbreaking ceremony on the site.

But Cullinan representatives at the time said the groundbreaking was ceremonial and not for the theater or any other project. They said construction was expected to begin in 2020.

In the meantime, Cullinan has said it has hired firms to do engineering on the site in preparation for future construction, including new roads and buildings.

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