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What Does Will County Get from the Capital Bill?

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By Will County Board Press Release

JOLIET—Will County is in line to get funding for several major projects after Governor Pritzker signed Illinois’ Capital Bill in Joliet on Friday. Those projects include I-80 bridge replacements and widening and improvements to I-55.

“We’re glad to have a capital bill from Springfield that addresses some of our most pressing regional needs,” said Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet). “Funding for I-80 improvements to repair bridges and widen the interstate through Joliet is critical to our region as the largest inland port in the nation.”
The state is prepared to invest $1.2 billion on I-80. Multiple bridges are in desperate need of replacement including the highly trafficked bridge over the Des Plaines River. Because of the rapid growth in population and industry in Illinois, I-80 will also be widened through Joliet.

I-55 improvements include $23.5 million to resurface the highway from I-80 south to Weber Road as well as $4.7 million for resurfacing and bridge repairs between U.S. Route 30 and Illinois 126 in Joliet and Plainfield.
“With the new State infrastructure bill passing, we are happy to see some of the money used for projects in Will County,” said Will County Board Member Ray Tuminello (R-New Lenox). “Will County is one of the fastest growing counties in the region and we’re glad to see the state invest in our local infrastructure.”

Other road improvements include $75.7 million for widening and reconstruction of U.S. route 52 from River Road to Houbolt Road in Joliet and Shorewood. Illinois Route 53 will also see $50 million of investment between Arsenal Road and U.S. 52 including pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

Also included in the capital bill is $400,000 for traffic light improvements at Weber Road and South Carillon Drive. Population growth, a new interchange at I-55 and the widening of Weber Road over the last few years has created a need for a new traffic light to increase safety.

 “Will County is a booming metro area,” said Winfrey. “We’ve become a major economic driver in Illinois, and we appreciate Governor Pritzker’s attention to our region. These investments will pay big dividends to the entire region’s economy.”

The state is prepared to help Will County with the demolition of the old Will County Courthouse by providing $1 million for the project. The county looked into repurposing the building but investigations into the feasibility of renovating the structure were cost prohibitive and the County Board decided that the best option was to demolish the building once services were transferred to the new courthouse.

Will County is also slated to get $5.1 million for improvements to Spring Creek and Hickory Creek which will help the county in flood mitigation. Both creeks funnel into the Des Plaines River and have long been a source of flooding. The resources from the new capital bill will continue the improvements that have been ongoing for decades.

“Things are changing and Will County has a lot of infrastructure projects that need to be accomplished to keep up with the growth we’re experiencing,” said Will County Board Member and Capital Improvements Committee Chair Herb Brooks. “Businesses and families are investing in Will County and it’s great to see the Illinois do the same.”

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center will also receive $312,500 from the capital bill. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a nonprofit that relies on a blend of donations, and funding from all levels of government to provide counseling services to children who have been abused. With help from the Will County Board, the Children’s Advocacy Center recently expanded services to Eastern Will County, opening a satellite office in the Village of Steger.

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Mayor dismisses idea of hike in Joliet gas tax

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By Bob Okon | The Herald-News

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk this week poured cold water on the idea of hiking the city gas tax.

He also joined a councilman in characterizing council member Sherri Reardon’s discussion of the topic as an attempt to “panic” people.

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Joliet mayor plans town meeting on violence

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By Bob Okon | The Herald-News

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk plans to hold a town hall meeting next week on violence in Joliet.

“I’ve been getting a lot of complaints about the level of violence,” O’Dekirk said at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

A date has not been set, but O’Dekirk said he expected it to be next week and that the city would issue a news release….

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Will County Board to again consider age limit for alternative nicotine products

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By Alex Ortiz | The Herald-News

The Will County Board will vote on restricting the sale of alternative nicotine products to those over the age of 18 at its next meeting.

The county judicial committee approved the ordinance Tuesday, so it now moves to the full county board. At the July county board meeting, members debated whether to put the age restriction at 18 or 21.

While the state’s age requirement is 21, the proposed county law would keep the age requirement at 18. Committee Chairman Tyler Marcum, D-Joliet, said the point of expanding the ordinance to include alternative nicotine products was to give resource officers at high schools in unincorporated areas more “teeth” in enforcing rules against students smoking.

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