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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner yesterday announced an agreement between the state, local governments and CenterPoint Properties on the construction of a new tolled bridge that will link Interstate 80 and the CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Joliet, Ill.The new bridge on Houbolt Road will cross the Des Plaines River and BNSF Railway Co. tracks at a cost of $170 million to $190 million, according to a press release issued by Rauner's office."The project is long overdue and will only enhance the region’s position as a freight hub for North America and an economic engine for the state," said Rauner.Will County will be required to pass a resolution to allow tolls to be issued and collected by CenterPoint Properties.The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will contribute $21 million to widen Houbolt Road and reconfigure the existing interchange with I-80 to a diverging-diamond design to accommodate the increased traffic demand. The city of Joliet will work with IDOT to implement and oversee the improvements, officials said."This project will improve the flow of goods and services throughout the region, relieving the congestion and addressing the safety issues that are impacting many surrounding communities," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "By working closely with all stakeholders involved, we have come up with a creative approach that can be a model to solving infrastructure needs elsewhere in the state."When completed, the project will provide two lanes of traffic in each direction between I-80 and CenterPoint's intermodal facilities. Construction could start as soon as 2017, with the bridge opening to traffic in late 2018 or early 2019. About 11,000 vehicles per day are expected to use the bridge initially, including more than 6,600 trucks.CenterPoint Intermodal Center is one of the largest inland ports for trucks and trains in North America.
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