Houbolt Road DDI and Extension
PROJECT FIRM: TranSystems Corporation, Burns& McDonnell, Civiltech Engineering
OTHER CONSULTANTS: CEMCOM, Ltd., Claassen White & Associates PC, Geotechnology, LLC, Huff & Huff, Inc., Interra, Inc., O'Brien & Associates, Patrick Engineering, Inc., Strand Associates, Inc., Testing Service Corp., D Construction, Granite Construction, Kraemer North America, Elmund & Nelson, Co., Michels Construction, Inc., PT Ferro Construction, Co.
OWNER: City of Joliet, Illinois Department of Transportation, CenterPoint Properties, United Bridge Partners
DESCRIPTION: Will County is home to the largest inland port in North America. Encompassing over 6,400 acres, the CenterPoint Intermodal Center (CIC) is comprised of the BNSF Logistics Park Chicago intermodal yard in Elwood; the UPRR Global IV intermodal yard in Joliet; and 17 million square feet of industrial, warehousing and distribution facilities. Developed over the last 20 years, CIC supports thousands of jobs and $75 billion in freight activity annually. Over three million containers are handled by the two intermodal yards annually and CIC generates over 20,000daily truck movements. However, the success of CIC, Global IV, and other developments had strained the local transportation system and raised community concerns with regards to safety, traffic congestion, and environmental impacts of the truck traffic on local roadways. The Houbolt Road project addressed those concerns and delivered much needed infrastructure improvements to Joliet and the Will County area through the construction of Illinois’ first privately built user-based-fee bridge over the Des Plaines River along with the construction of a modern diverging diamond interchange (DDI) with I-80.The direct connection provides a faster route, saving up to 20minutes,and safer route for trucks and other vehicles to access the intermodal yards and reduces regional traffic congestion while providing economic development opportunities for the region. A “first of its kind” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established partnership between Joliet, Will County, IDOT and CenterPoint Properties that infused private capital with public funding and provided a framework for delivering the improvements. Under terms of the MOU, CenterPoint would fund, construct, collect tolls and maintain the $100M1.5-mileextension of Houbolt Road through a 99-year lease agreement with Joliet. Joliet and IDOT would fund and construct the $30M DDI and widen and reconstruct a one-mile section of existing Houbolt Road. TranSystems, Burns & McDonnell and Civiltech were selected to plan, design, and oversee the construction of both the privately led Houbolt Road extension project and the publicly led DDIproject.The2.5-milelong$130M project was a complex, challenging, and massive undertaking. The project involved the construction of three new bridges, including a 2,000-foot major river bridge, two railroad crossings (BNSF and CSX), three waterway crossings, open road tolling equipment, five signalized intersections, and the conversion of the existing diamond interchange to a DDI. Many innovative features were incorporated into the design that saved time and money, including a unique river pier design, stay-in-place bridge deck forms, and the steel girder erection process over the Des Plaines River. Design/build was used as an alternative delivery for the Houbolt Road extension. The Houbolt Road extension is the first major roadway and bridge project in Illinois to use design/build and helped facilitate recently enacted alternative delivery legislation in Illinois. In another first, the Houbolt Road DDI is the first DDI in Illinois where the crossroad goes under the expressway. The project successfully addressed the safety and congestion concerns by providing better and more direct access to I-80 via Houbolt Road. It will ensure that industry will continue to be a driver of growth, jobs and revenue for Will County. As a “first of its kind” project in Illinois, Houbolt Road will serve as an excellent example of how private industry and public agencies can work together to solve our transportation challenges.