JBertino Tarrant2016cOLIET- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) this week joined other legislators at a town hall meeting aiming to lower the number of fatalities and serious crashes on the I-80 corridor from New Lenox and Joliet to Shorewood and Minooka.

“My number one concern is that driving conditions are safe along the I-80 corridor,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This meeting is another example of our communities working together to solve problems and institute a long-term plan to ensure safe traveling conditions.”

People who attended this community meeting heard from Mary Craighead, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, Secretary of Illinois Transportation Randy Blankenhorn and Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Tollway, Kevin Artl.

Scott Slocum from Will County radio station WJOL moderated the event, and Bertino Tarrant said she was impressed with his professional and firm demeanor.

Key findings from the meeting include:

• A total of 37 fatal crashes occurred between 2001 and 2016.

• About 20 percent of the total traffic along the I-80 corridor consists of heavy trucks and semis.

• The Illinois State Police are currently short staffed. They are in the process of recruiting new troopers, and once the new hires are trained and stationed within a region, ISP hopes they will be able to further enforce and observe traffic among the corridor.

On top of those findings, a group of community leaders, stakeholders, and state and local transportation agencies formed a working group to produce a long-term infrastructure and safety plan to accommodate for the rapid population growth and added traffic within the region.

IDOT will continue to look into short-term solutions as the working group develops recommendations such as no-change lanes, barriers to high-risk areas near Richard Street and additional signage.

The report discussed during the meeting can be found here.

“The continuous population growth within our communities demands a long-term plan to upgrade and improve infrastructure along the I-80 corridor,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to make sure our transportation infrastructure meets the needs of our region to encourage safe travel conditions, economic development and convenience for residents.”

Bertino-Tarrant looks forward to seeing a long-term transportation infrastructure strategy for the region.

“Investing in our roads, highways and bridges encourages economic development for our region,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every dollar we spend to improve our infrastructure is an investment in safety for area residents and another incentive for companies to grow and make our community their home.” 

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