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Huge I-80 project set to begin, but infrastructure is about more than just roads and bridges

Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021

* Good infrastructure news from the Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday unveiled a six-year timeline for the $1.2 billion reconstruction of Interstate Highway 80 through Will County, including work on aging bridges over the Des Plaines River considered so decrepit that unions put up billboards with warnings such as “Cross bridge at your own risk” two years ago.

“In recent decades, this stretch of I-80 has also come to represent the disinvested infrastructure that Illinois used to be notorious for,” Pritzker said during a news conference Monday in New Lenox. “That’s all changing.”

* Bad infrastructure news from the Tribune

On Saturday morning, Dixmoor resident Martha Montero turned on her shower to find nothing. But she had water stored in a cupboard from the numerous other times this had happened. […]

The issues with water have been ongoing for about two years, said 29-year-old Montero. […]

The town has been without a reliable and consistent water source since Saturday. According to Dixmoor Village President Fitzgerald Roberts, that is because of breaks in the pipe that brings water into Dixmoor, affecting the whole town’s water supply. The latest break was Monday. […]

Harvey supplies water to other towns including East Hazel Crest, Hazel Crest, Homewood and Posen.

Homewood is in the process of switching its water source due to “erratic water rates” and “unreliable infrastructure,” said Homewood’s marketing director Jennifer Quirke.

* And I still don’t know what to make of this idea

The developer behind the proposed $20 billion One Central development revealed details for the project’s first phase: a transit center surrounded by roughly 1.4 million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space on a 35-acre site above the train tracks near Soldier Field.

The full plans for One Central, unveiled in 2019, include up to 22.3 million square feet of buildings with as many as 9,050 residential units and 9.45 million square feet of offices. The project still needs city and state approval to proceed, and Landmark president Bob Dunn has said he expects to submit a zoning application by late October or early November.

* Related…

* Rush hour is coming back, but slower traffic hasn’t meant fewer crashes: One solution is to put “traffic calming” measures onto city streets, which can help protect cyclists and pedestrians too, as biking and walking are growing in popularity throughout Chicago and the suburbs, she said. That can include lower speed limits, pedestrian islands and crosswalks in roadways and bike lanes, which both provide space for cyclists and narrow streets to encourage lower speeds. The measures might be one way to reverse not only the pandemic spike in traffic fatalities and deaths, but also a longer-term uptick in the Chicago area that predated the pandemic, Wilkison said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:18 am:

    The highways in the Joliet area are disproportionately suffering due to all the intermodal truck traffic in the area. In the effort to attract all those distribution centers, it seems having the companies contribute sufficiently to the upkeep and expansion of local roads wasn’t adequately considered. It’s not the cause of all the issues out there, but it has made the situation worse.

  2. - South Looper - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:23 am:

    One Central is an awful idea. Would encourage state staff and members to take a hard look before approving funding. The developer claims this is what the southside needs to spur economic development, jobs, etc. No one (CTA, RTA, Amtrak etc) has asked for a transit hub that the developer is proposing. It’s shortsighted to building additional office and retail space when less than a mile away, storefronts on State Street are empty. Also, there’s be no discussion or consideration of how this will impact the area given the “78″ development directly to the west, which would effectively sandwich the South Loop.

  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:27 am:

    Ron Burgundy, in a way the companies are contributing. CenterPoint Properties is building a new toll bridge across the Des Plaines River with private money to help alleviate traffic on IL 53 and other roads in the area of their two intermodal centers in Elwood and Joliet, that hopefully will see less traffic once the bridge is opened. And many of those trucks are paying fuel and registration taxes to the state, some of which get distributed to the locals. Is it enough? The argument can be made that it’s not.

  4. - ItsMillerTime - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:29 am:


    Furthermore if the bears are actually leaving then that reduces the need for a transportation hub next to soldier field

  5. - VerySmallRocks - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:30 am:

    It’s critical to get off the monoculture mentality of infrastructure, such as highways are the only transportation option or warehouses are the only business option.

  6. - Shield - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:35 am:

    - South Looper - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:23 am:

  7. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    It’s hard to predict if things will really ever get back to the way they were pre-pandemic, and traffic/transportation as well as big retail and office projects strike me as the trend in the thirties to add Zeppelin docking Towers to talk buildings in anticipation of all the airborne traffic to come. I’m a futurist, and I’m for advance planning to anticipate trends… But is that huge development project still viable, with a market for the brick and mortar retail and office space? When everyone is trending to work from home and shopping online?

  8. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:44 am:

    === No one (CTA, RTA, Amtrak etc) has asked for a transit hub that the developer is proposing.===

    Marty, you’re not thinking forth-dimensionally. If you build such a large development you’ll need transit for it. So the question you should ask is do we want the development?

  9. - South Looper - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:54 am:

    @Just me 2….um no. no we don’t. And the state shouldn’t want it either.

  10. - South Looper - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:56 am:

    @Shield–yes, I know Buckner and other have spoken out, but with the Bears leaving, the Mayor has added pressure for replacing revenue.


  11. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    I guess technically it is the southside, but just barely and not the part of it that needs economic development.

  12. - South Looper - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 10:10 am:


  13. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 10:14 am:

    ==And many of those trucks are paying fuel and registration taxes to the state, some of which get distributed to the locals.==

    And Will County recently enacted a county motor fuel tax.

  14. - JoanP - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 10:32 am:

    Anyone who thinks traffic is “slower” hasn’t driven on DuSable Lake Shore Drive lately.

  15. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    === um no. no we don’t. And the state shouldn’t want it either.===

    Given your screen name I’m willing to bet you’re a bit biased.

  16. - Ares - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 11:49 am:

    As long as people are ordering online, the trucks from the Joliet and Elwood intermodals will continue to pour thousands of trucks on (mostly) Vietnam-era infrastructure. I-80 is key to relieving the ever-worsening bottlenecks, and bring new blood into the engineering and construction fields.

  17. - supplied_demand - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    ==with the Bears leaving, the Mayor has added pressure for replacing revenue. ==

    The Bears leaving is far from a done deal. The cost to break their purchase agreement is less than the cost to break their SF lease. If the city wants to keep them, it probably includes the One Central development. Note, the developer has made his name building NFL stadiums and surrounding entertainment districts.

  18. - Lurker - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 11:59 am:

    We are going to electric vehicles. They are at least 30% heavier and the newly designed longer range trucks may be as much as 60%. I hope the new roads and bridges are using newer standards.

  19. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 12:14 pm:

    ==We are going to electric vehicles. They are at least 30% heavier and the newly designed longer range trucks may be as much as 60%.==

    I wonder how much the standard relative to vehicle weight would have to be adjusted, given that during our country’s biggest boon of highway infrastructure, cars were hulking blocks of steel. Adding 30% onto the weight of a modern car might still leave it lighter than what was hitting the roads in the 1960s.

  20. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    === but infrastructure is about more than just roads and bridges ===

    That’s what Biden is arguing.

  21. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 12:40 pm:

    The War on Terror cost 21 trillion dollars…that’s where the money went…money that could have rebuilt our Country…robbed we were.

    Misspent dollars are not “wasted”…they end up in the ever deepening pockets of our Corporate Overrulers.

  22. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 12:48 pm:

    Quinn’s propodrd east west reliever expressway looks prescient today. Would have taken pressure off of I-80 as well as reduced traffic on 55 near Joliet.

  23. - Ares - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    The Illiana Xway would never work unless it connected I-80 in Grundy County to the IN Toll Rd. Besides local opposition and accelerated development in South Lake Co (IN), the $$ which could have paid the states’ matching share for a southern has instead gone to corporate incentives on both sides of the line. Similarly, the environmentalist lawsuits which stopped I-355 for 10 years at the turn of the century prevented land acquisition for an I-355 loop route before development made expansion impossible.

  24. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    Again, to the critics of the Illiana. While the proposal had issues, no opponent has ever answered this question. When the Frank Borman Expressway in Indiana becomes a parking lot 24 hours a day, Indiana DOT says there will be no more lane expansions, what is your solution to the gridlock backing up into Illinois?

  25. - first time buyer - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 6:06 pm:

    I feel bad for people without a reliable water supply. Are the city of Harvey’s water revenues still in receivership?

  26. - From DaZoo - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:42 pm:

    @Anyone Remember
    Indiana DOT is currently studying alternatives to increase capacity/throughput on I-94 between I-65 and the state line (and maybe into Illinois up to I-294) without adding lanes. They’ve held a few public meetings to solicit input on possible alternatives. One alternative that is being reviewed is either time-of-day or dynamic use of one of the shoulders (a.k.a. hard shoulder running).

  27. - From DaZoo - Tuesday, Oct 19, 21 @ 9:51 pm:

    Minor correction(s):
    InDOT is calling it a “Flex Road” study.
    There were 3 meetings this summer. A follow-up public meeting was tonight (10/19). Another public meeting is virtual on Thursday.

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