Recently uncovered documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests reveal that NorthPoint’s real intentions go far beyond the Joliet area and that their plans, if allowed to come to fruition, will have far-reaching impacts across the entire region. In the documents unearthed by Stop NorthPoint, NorthPoint lays out their ambition to do an end-run around the will of Illinois residents to create a 30-mile long “Illiana-Lite” expressway corridor reaching across the entire county, from I-55 to I-394 that would conveniently pass right through NorthPoint’s industrial warehouse park.
On July 5, 2018, the Deputy Secretary at IDOT sent an email to Illinois Transporation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn that contained a briefing on the NorthPoint project, including the following bullet points:
• Compass Business Park [NorthPoint] has suggested two phases of improvements to expand access between their proposed site and a proposed CSX intermodal facility in Crete.
• … the second phase of work is significantly more substantial in nature. This “east-west” connector is very similar in alignment to the Illiana Expressway, which this administration has decided not to advance.
• Any proposed alignment would require significant reconstruction to accommodate high volumes of truck traffic for this 30-mile east-west connector.
• Rather than constructing over 30 miles of new highways through rural Will County, the Department recommends focusing its limited resources instead upon the existing needs in the Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 corridors.
• IDOT has already informed Patrick Robinson [NorthPoint] that it would not further explore this east-west connector proposal at this time.
Two years later, on June 19, 2020, Chief Counsel for IDOT sent a group email about a discussion with a representative from the Governor’s office regarding a letter from the International Union of Operating Engineers, reiterating their official position on NorthPoint’s plan “that is advising NorthPoint to secure the support of local municipalities”. The idea of a new Illiana expressway corridor is mentioned as part of the original NorthPoint project.
“… the original NorthPoint proposal of the ‘Illiana Light’ from 55 to 394…”
One thing is clear: NorthPoint is NOT acting like a good neighbor, and if their project is approved in Joliet, they have every intention of using it as a springboard to spread their brand of misery across the entire region. Although IDOT seems to have rejected NorthPoint’s little Illiana expressway plan for now, we must remain vigilant in this fight to protect our community.
Press release Stop NorthPoint