The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) ON TO 2050 plan recommends strategies to maintain the region’s status as North America’s freight hub, while balancing community concerns and the economic benefits of freight. Western Will County is part of one of the six freight land use clusters that CMAP has identified in the region. This rapidly growing cluster has a strong specialization in modern distribution facilities. Recent intermodal and distribution facility growth, as well as other economic development, has brought both benefits and challenges to the area.
To address these challenges and build on recommendations of the Will County Community Freight Friendly Mobility Plan, CMAP is kicking off the Moving Will County project, which brings together a Truck Routing Study and a Land Use Strategy. These studies were combined due to their overlap in geography, data collection, outreach needs, and the interdependency of transportation and development goals. The joint goal of the studies is to achieve a balance between truck traffic and routing, existing freight land use clusters and new development, agricultural business, natural and cultural resources, and residential areas. Both studies will share existing conditions and engage stakeholders to develop appropriate and supportive infrastructure and policies to best guide development.
These collaborative solutions will support economic development and complement communities, agriculture, cultural resources, and natural areas that are critical for Will County to be competitive and resilient. The combination of a land use plan being developed alongside a supportive transportation plan provides the opportunity to create a model approach for solving the commonly intertwined issues between both studies. Click here to view a map of the project study area.
An effective truck route network aids the smooth movement of trucks across jurisdictions on roads that are designed to accommodate them. Currently, restrictions established by localities often change at jurisdictional borders, requiring trucks to change roads. Coordinated networks increase compliance with the law and communicate to the trucking industry which roads are best suited to accommodate their size and weight. Coordinated networks can also reduce community impacts by directing trucks to the routes built for them, and away from residential neighborhoods or sensitive areas. In addition, insufficient infrastructure can also be an issue, and truck network studies help communities identify the capital investments needed to accommodate truck traffic on desired routes.
The Truck Routing & Communities Study will undertake a proactive and collaborative effort to designate consistent truck routes and coordinate restrictions across jurisdictional boundaries, implement innovative delivery-management policies, and address environmental justice and quality of life issues for communities in Western Will County. Guidance on funding for implementation and the development of a pipeline of projects will also be developed for communities. The result will balance the needs of local communities, residents, natural, agricultural, and cultural assets, and industry. Click here to view a map of the truck routing study area.
The Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan recommends that a comprehensive transportation and land use plan specifically be conducted in areas with freight clusters, noting that “continued growth without planning and new transportation investments may impact Will County’s economic competitiveness and quality of life.” This is particularly important in the area around the Joliet / Elwood cluster, which is projected to grow by nearly 40 million square feet of industrial space by 2040.
The project team will engage in a facilitated, open planning process to develop a comprehensive Transportation & Land Use Strategy for the Elwood/Joliet Supercluster. The strategy will be based on market-feasible development and provide a balance between economic development, natural resource protection, multi-modal connections, congestion relief, and quality of life / community character goals. The strategy will cluster freight and development to complement communities and environmental resources, and to avoid, minimize, and, if necessary, mitigate the effects of conflicting land use changes so that transportation investments are strategic and sustainable. Click here to view a map of the land use study area.
Public input in the planning process is critical, as a successful plan must reflect the unique values and aspirations of Will County communities. In addition to hearing from community members through a public open house (April) and two online surveys (April and September), the planning team will engage area stakeholders in focus groups and interviews to better understand the priorities of those living and working in the region.
To stay up to date on project updates and upcoming events, sign up to receive emails via the website pop-up. In the meantime, send any thoughts or ideas regarding the Moving Will County plan to the team via the contact section at the bottom of the page.
CivilTech Engineering leads projects ranging from comprehensive studies and planning to state-of-the-art design and construction engineering. CivilTech is leading the Moving Will County project. Learn more >
CDM Smith is an engineering and construction company which provides solutions in water, energy, transportation, and facilities projects for government and private clients. CDM Smith’s focus for this plan will be the Truck Routing Study. Learn more >
Ginkgo is a planning and design firm specializing in the design of cities, neighborhoods, streets and open places in both the public and private realm. Ginkgo’s focus for this plan will be the land use strategy. Learn more >
Kretchmer Associates understands market dynamics and how to measure need and demand. They are thoughtful, detail-oriented and big-picture smart. Kretchmer Associates focus for this plan is on market analysis to support the land use strategy. Learn more >
The Lakota Group has 25 years of experience in urban design, planning, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Lakota’s focus for this plan is community engagement and outreach. Learn more >
CMAP is the regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. The Moving Will County plan is funded by CMAP. Learn more >
Will County recently completed the the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan, whose recommendations led to this plan. Learn more about the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan >