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One light problem fixed, but a million problems remain

Monday, Apr 29, 2019

* As we’ve already discussed, CSL Behring has been trying to get a traffic light added to a three-light intersection for almost a year and a half so it could build a new turn lane for its employees. The company wants to expand its already huge facility in Kankakee County and it’s doing so without any state or local tax breaks or incentives. All it wants is that fourth light, which it will pay for.

IDOT claims it has been cooperating, telling me that an engineering consultant hired by the developer presented IDOT with a feasibility study last June and that IDOT agreed a month later that the new signal was warranted and then asked the consultant for a more detailed plan, which it submitted in late March.

But the company says otherwise, and expressed supreme frustration to the local newspaper.

* Gov. Pritzker toured the plant last week

The Kankakee County government is moving to reduce the shift-change traffic jams at the CSL Behring plant. And the state is vowing to speed up a request to make that happen.

The plan is to convert a three-way light at the Illinois Route 50 intersection at the Lowe’s hardware store to a four-way. CSL, the county’s second largest employer, promised to pay for the change.

On Tuesday, a county board oversight committee approved an agreement with CSL that the county would be the permit holder. The state Department of Transportation has signed a letter of understanding on the permit, which the county board is expected to vote on next month. […]

During the governor’s visit, Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said there “has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes” with the traffic light.

“We are expediting the reviews. I have a team specifically put in charge of that review,” he said.

While it’s great they’re prioritizing this project, I still do not see why it takes so long to get a turn-lane and a fourth traffic light approved. Why does this even require a special team doing “a lot of work”?

I brought up this CSL issue to the governor when I talked to him ahead of his 100-day anniversary. He agreed with me that IDOT needs an online portal to allow people to easily track their permit requests. A Pritzker aide took the idea to IDOT that same day and was told the agency was already working on it.

Illinois is Illinois, so it’ll probably never be a CEO’s favorite place to do business. But at the very least, we can do some things that will help businesses interact with the government, like tracking their stoplight requests. And maybe streamline the bureaucratic process while they’re at it?

* Related…

* Pritzker hails CSL’s ‘amazing growth’

* Editorial: Pritzker’s local visits a positive sign

* Gov. Pritzker Announces Safe Routes to School Grants

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    Can someone please run an extension cord out there, and string a few colored bulbs on a timer…while we’re waiting on the detailed feasibility study from the outside consultant?

  2. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    Someone must know what the average time is to get a lite installed. So is this in the average time or is someone messing with them?

  3. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    “I have a team specifically put in charge of that review ”

    If they need a team to implement this simple and paid for fix, I would hate to see the wasted time on the complicated projects.

  4. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Illinois is Illinois, so it’ll probably never be a CEO’s favorite place to do business.

    Just last week Marquis Energy shelved plans for a $500 million dollar ethanol plant in Jacksonville Illinois

    “illinois government’s anti-business and high tax policies will require us to pursue company expansions in surrounding states. State bill SB 1407 is an example of legislation that will negatively impact our companies expansion plans- removing our company’s choice in construction contractors we hire and the agreed upon price between two parties, reducing competition and inflating costs” CEO Mark Marquis said in a statement.

  5. - Lefty Lefty - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    Re: Marquis Energy

    Also from the media about the shelved ethanol plant:

    “Trade tariffs also were a factor in the decision. According to the company, tariffs have restricted international export markets for ethanol and distilled grains.

    “ ‘These tariffs caused a reduction in corn value, leading to lower prices for U.S. farmers and adding to an already distressed agricultural economy,’ Marquis said.”

  6. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    Are the trade tariffs the reason why they are leaving Illinois for our surrounding states?

    Of course not, Cook County Democrats who insist on policies for “working families” that don’t work in rural America don’t run those states.

  7. - Not that fast - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Marquis probably made their decision based on the tariffs, but the CEO is spinning it this way because reasons. Still waiting for Jimmy John to actually move his company to Florida, BTW.

  8. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    If only we had term limits…

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 6:19 pm:

    ==State bill SB 1407 is an example of legislation that will negatively impact our companies expansion plans- removing our company’s choice in construction contractors==

    Marquis doesn’t want skilled people to work for them? Wait til they try unskilled people.

  10. - Judge Cooked - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 6:23 pm:

    It takes about 3 months to do a traffic study to get a warrant from IDOT to install a light. Add another 3 months to complete an intersection design study. Add another 6 months to do the actual design engineering (usually at a private engineer) if it requires any changes to the lanes and/or any new striping or changes to the distances, etc., and then at least 2-3 months to get approval of the design through IDOT. At least a year seems about right.

  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 29, 19 @ 6:50 pm:

    I think JB missed a trick here. He should have told Osman, “I’m going to Behring next week; I expect to see that fourth light installed.”

    You’re the boss of the executive branch, act like it.

    And don’t accept Osman’s mumbo-jumbo about a special team and a “lot of work going on behind the scenes.” For crying out loud, it’s one traffic light. Osman’s jabberwocky is beyond parody.

  12. - woodguy - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    IDOT once published a pamphlet which said it would take 5 to 7 years of study and approval to resurface a state roadway. This was in the early 90s. I’m sure it hasn’t gotten faster since. They need to devolve approvals for non structural replacement or construction to local governments like California has.

  13. - Franklin Park Mayor - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    As a Municipal official, I can tell you that business owners frequently find fault with a governmental agency in these matters, only to find out its consultant dropped the ball on a submission of detailed plans after preliminary approval of the concept.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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