As one of the country's three coast-to-coast interstates, I-80 through Joliet and Will County carries approximately 80,000 vehicles a day, about 25 percent of which are trucks. Because of the infrastructure condition, population growth, and capacity constraints, heavy congestion as well as frequent merging and weaving are common. In addition, over 30 bridges along the corridor are in need of full replacement. In order to transform this stretch of I-80 into a safe, efficient, and modern roadway, the Illinois Department of Transportation conducted a robust outreach program, coordinating with local municipalities and the public at every decision point to develop a reconstruction plan that meets the needs of the communities and motorists I-80 serves.
The I-80 reconstruction project includes approximately 16 miles of the interstate and begins near Ridge Road to the west and ends at U.S. 30 to the east. The corridor encompasses three counties (Kendall, Grundy, and Will), and passes through six municipalities (Minooka, Channahon, Shorewood, Rockdale, Joliet, and New Lenox). The road crosses four waterways (DuPage River, Rock Run Creek, Des Plaines River, and Hickory Creek), and includes eight interchanges.
The I-80 reconstruction project was initiated to evaluate transportation issues along the corridor, and develop solutions to the safety and congestion issues on the interstate. The Illinois Department of Transportation worked closely with local communities and transportation and environmental agencies, as well as conducted extensive public outreach to develop proposed improvements that meet the needs of the communities it serves and anticipated increases in traffic volumes. The study followed federal guidelines outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to identify and evaluate proposed improvements as well as potential impacts.
During the environmental review, public meetings and community meetings were held to inform stakeholders about the project and gather feedback. In addition, working group meetings consisting of elected officials and community leaders were held, along with coordination meetings with federal, state and local jurisdictions, and resource agencies. A public hearing was held in 2019.
The data and stakeholder input gathered during the environmental review was used to develop the Environmental Assessment, which outlines the final proposed improvement known as the preferred alternative.
While the project is currently in various stages with ongoing community coordination, sections of the interstate are moving forward with construction.