Laraway Road next county corridor slated for widening
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org March 21, 2013 9:20PM
Updated: April 26, 2013 6:09AM
JOLIET — Phase one of a possible 12.5-mile widening of Laraway Road from Route 52 to Harlem Avenue was approved by the Will County Board on Thursday.
Board members agreed to spend $1.8 million for an engineering study on the first chunk of road that would be improved — a 3.25-mile stretch from Route 52 to Cedar Road.
Once that study is done, the county will seek federal funding for the project before launching phase two planning and phase three construction, said County Engineer Bruce Gould.
The first section of widening could cost $40 million. But the entire widening project could cost $160 million, Gould said.
Laraway Road is the next county corridor that needs work because of increasing traffic patterns in that area of the county, Gould said. Now that Weber Road and 191st Street improvements are finished and work has begun on the 143rd Street and Bell Road corridors, it’s Laraway’s turn for widening, Gould said.
In the meantime, the board also approved paying D Construction $2.3 million to do a maintenance overlay of asphalt on Laraway Road from U.S. 52 to Harlem Avenue “just to hold it over” until more extensive work can begin, Gould said. The contract also includes maintenance work on Cherry Hill Road from Laraway Road to U.S. 52.
Also Thursday the board:
Agreed to put the proposed south suburban airport near Peotone back into its state and federal legislative agendas for lobbyists to pursue in Washington D.C. and Springfield. There are a lot of new members on the board so it was agreed the board would debate the merits of the proposed airport in near Peotone at a special committee of the whole meeting earlier this month. But in the end, most board members agreed the county had to lobby for control of the airport since it will be built in eastern Will County.
Judy Ogalla, R-Monee, who is vice president of the anti-airport group Shut This Airport Nightmare Down, thanked fellow board members for reviewing the issue and urged them to work for stronger language to protect people in the airport’s path.
Approved spending $402,000 on 16 new vehicles for the sheriff’s department. The money for the cars — 14 Ford Interceptors and two Ford Tauruses — will be taken out of a special overweight truck fine fund the sheriff controls.
At first, the board’s finance committee balked at approving the expenditure because the sheriff’s budget was $3 million in the hole last year due to overtime and salary payments. But committee members ultimately decided to OK the squad car purchases and hold a special workshop meeting on sheriff’s department budget issues at a later date.