A new state law and a deteriorating bridge will hopefully entice truckers from their usual route through Wilmington to reach Interstate 57 or the large industrial areas of the region.
Mayor Marty Orr is working with county officials to develop an alternate route connecting Route 53 with I-57 via South Arsenal Road, Old Chicago Road and Peotone Road - which will keep trucks heading north on Route 102 from coming into Wilmington and divert those southbound trucks wanting to connect with I-57 east before reaching the Island City, negating the need to use Route 102.
Will County Chief Executive Larry Walsh said the state capital spending package approved July 13, 2009 provides that a vehicle and load not exceeding 80,000 pounds is allowed to travel on non-designated highways so long as there is no sign prohibiting that access. Previously the limit was 73,200 pounds, unless specifically posted. Walsh said districts have to justify a lighter load limit in order to post it.
The road loads became effective Jan. 1.
Since the bill's passage, Will County has been making assessments of its bridges in an effort to open roads to the heavier weight limit. Walsh said there are numerous bridges with structural deficiencies, including a bridge on Peotone Road immediately west of Old Chicago Road. The county is going to try to fix those deficient bridges by the end of calendar year 2011.
In the interim alternate routes have to be identified and posted. Peotone Road is a primary east-west route between Interstate 57 and Route 53, and always requested as a truck route, Walsh said. However, since that Peotone Road bridge is expected to be rated at 46,000 pounds until it is repaired or replaced, an alternate route for the stretch of Peotone Road from Route 53 to that point had to be found.
Walsh, county engineer Bruce Gould and Mark Schneidewind, director of the Will County Farm Bureau, have been working to identify a number of alternate truck routes that will accommodate the wishes of the truckers in Will County to create east-west routes to facilitate delivery of products to elevators or the intermodal center at Elwood.
"When we get those bridges fixed there will be more routes," Walsh noted.
The city of Wilmington has jurisdiction over South Arsenal Road, and Mayor Orr supports the county's proposal to use South Arsenal as the western leg of the 53-to-57 truck route. Wilmington, with funding from industrial park developer ProLogis and the Joliet Arsenal Development Authority, rebuilt the three-mile stretch of road to accommodate trucks from the county landfill, the ProLogis industrial park and the Local 150 training center.
"It's a beautiful new road, built to an 80,000-pound weight limit," Walsh said.
The truck route will be Route 53 to South Arsenal Road, east to Old Chicago Road, south to Peotone Road and then east to either Route 45 or I-57.
"By actually designating this as a truck route we're going to encourage trucks from CenterPoint to use it," Walsh added. "... We hope to alleviate a lot of truck activity in Wilmington."
Gould said the county is waiting for concurrence from the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the structural analysis of the Peotone Road bridge.
County workers meanwhile are in the process of posting load limits and alternate truck routes throughout the county. Truckers will be notified of the South Arsenal alternate route by signs on Route 53 north of South Arsenal Road, Route 45 at Peotone Road and Route 102 south of Old Chicago Road, long before they reach Wilmington.
"They will have ample notice," Gould said.
But once the Peotone Road bridge is fixed, Peotone Road will become an 80,000-pound truck route. Walsh said the South Arsenal to Old Chicago Route cannot be used indefinitely, as a bridge on Old Chicago near Peotone Road will not withstand long-term heavy truck traffic.
"We're making a commitment to get engineering and design done and try by the end of 2011 to get them [deficient bridges] open at the 80,000-pound limit," Walsh said.
Gould noted the county will not allow overweight trucks to travel Peotone Road.
"As far as we're concerned, it will be for 80,000 pounds, that's it," he said.
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
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I am a truck driver that was recently given a over weight ticket on this route.Officer James Williams of will county sheriff's dept. Said I was over gross at 57000 on a bridge that was rebuilt according to him a month who and changed to 15 tons. $10680 fine when never once was my whole truck and trailer on said bridge at once.