JOLIET, Ill. — The Houbolt Road Extension, a project that was designed to make traveling easier for big trucks heading to and from the CenterPoint Intermodal Center (CIC) in Illinois, opened on Thursday, April 27.
The new road creates a direct route between Interstate 80 and the CIC, which officials say will significantly reduce congestion on local roads and shorten long routes to the highway, saving drivers time, miles and money.
According to a news release, the CIC is the nation’s largest inland port, with as many as 20,000 trucks passing through it daily.
“This new bridge will help truckers maximize driver hours while creating a new avenue for companies to optimize their resources,” the news release stated.
Project leaders also say this shorter route into the CIC will have positive environmental impacts by reducing vehicle miles traveled and idling. Leaders say the Houbolt Road Extension will reduce the CIC’s carbon footprint annually. Employees within the CIC will enjoy shorter commutes, while those traveling local roads will experience substantially less truck traffic.
The privately financed project involved designing and building a 1.5-mile-long highway extension, including a 0.4-mile-long bridge over the Des Plaines River.
Houbolt Road Extension JV LLC (HRE-JV), a joint venture between United Bridge Partners (UBP) and CenterPoint Properties. financed and constructed the project and will operate and maintain the bridge while collecting tolls under a 99-year lease agreement with the City of Joliet. Construction commenced on March 8, 2021, and was completed in just over two years.
“United Bridge Partners is honored to serve the Joliet community by funding, building, and operating the Houbolt Road Extension,” said UBP president and CEO Doug Witt. “Teamed with CenterPoint Properties, together we were able to rebuild and enhance the road and bridge infrastructure in Illinois. We are proud to open a new road to economic growth and prosperity that will advance the entire region for years to come.”
The Houbolt Road Extension uses an all-electronic system that accepts toll payments through I-PASS, E-ZPass, and Pay by Plate to keep traffic flowing smoothly. The tolling gantry is located between the bridge and US Route 6; toll rates are tiered based on vehicle class, which is determined by vehicle height, width, and length. For drivers paying with a transponder, the rate for Class 1/passenger/light vehicles is $2.00, Class 2/medium vehicles are $4.00, and Class 3/large vehicles are $8.00. Pay-by-Plate rates include an additional $3.50 administrative fee for each crossing.
“Over the past 20 years, the CIC has grown into an invaluable part of the supply chains of many of the world’s leading companies. A new, third access point to the Park is critical, and we’re excited to open the extension to manage traffic within CIC productively,” said Michael Murphy, CenterPoint’s chief development officer. “The HRE-JV is a shining example of what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal entities partner with private companies to impact communities positively. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships with community groups and leaders in the cities surrounding the CIC.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.