Governor JB Pritzker was in Joliet on Friday afternoon and he was talking about infrastructure enhancement projects coming to the Will County area. The Governor first announced the long talked about improvements to to Interstate 80 in Will County with the Governor announcing an estimated $850 million in new money to improve and expand the Interstate, which has become a safety risk in recent years. Those safety risks has led WJOL to create a public advocacy group called R.U.S.H. or Residents United for Safer Highways, with the focus on educating people on the dangers and planning for the future of Interstate 80. WJOL’s own Scott Slocum was present at the event and asked Governor Pritzker if this commitment from the state means that the state is still exploring a partnership with the Illinois Tollway for a possible managed lane program along Interstate 80 with the Governor emphatically stating that no such discussions are taking place. It is also not clear if the $1.2 billion committed from the state will be enough to cover the entire cost of the project as initial reports were that the project would cost between $1.5 and $2 billion.
The Governor also announced an expansion to Jefferson Street from River Road to Houbolt Road. This expansion will also provide the Rock Run Crossing Lifestyle Mall recently announced near I-55 and I-80 with the much infrastructure improvements that will allow that project to move forward. And last but certainly not least was the announcement that the 3 bridges in downtown Joliet will receive some much needed long-term repair work. The bridges specifically mentioned were the Cass Street and Jefferson Street Bridges with a third to be announced at a later date.