The Will County Board approved a tolling agreement for a Houbolt Road extension at its meeting on Thursday.
The matter had been tabled before the last two meetings in December and January. The county worked on the agreement with Houbolt Road Extension JV, a CenterPoint Properties partnership.
Nick Palmer, the chief of staff to Will County Executive Larry Walsh, said county officials had been working through legal verbiage on the agreement. He said the extension would provide an additional route for trucks to enter the intermodal, which he said would be “a huge positive” for the area.
“It’s a quicker in-and-out route, which will hopefully reduce the amount of truck traffic, be more efficient and it’s largely being paid for by the private sector,” Palmer said.
The resolution the board adopted said extension is “necessary and will serve the public interest and need by facilitating the efficient flow of traffic and furthering the safety of the motoring public.”
Palmer also said the county negotiated a maximum toll rate, but the actual rate would be determined by the market. The Illinois Toll Bridge Act allows the county board to fix and change the rates of the toll and a maximum rate.
Construction on the extension will take about two years, so the county will “figure the exact toll then,” according to Palmer.
Joliet also has to complete a lease agreement with the CenterPoint group to enable construction of the Houbolt Road bridge. The city is negotiating a long-term lease aimed at assuring the CenterPoint group will have responsibility for financing and maintaining the bridge, while Joliet has ownership.
The bridge is conceived as a direct connection between the intermodal and Interstate 80 to relieve truck traffic now going onto local highways.
Both agreements need to be worked out before construction can begin on the bridge, which was announced in 2016. At the time, then-Gov. Bruce Rauner estimated construction would start in 2017, and the bridge would open by early 2019.