Concerns Mount Over Will County’s Proposed 143rd Street Widening Project
In recent developments, residents of Homer Glen, alongside officials from Homer Township, are strongly advocating for a halt in the planned widening of 143rd Street in Will County. The project, which initiated its preliminary engineering phase in 2009, seeks to expand and reconstruct 143rd Street from State Street/Lemont Road to Bell Road.
The proposed approximately $60 million project involves transforming the existing one-lane segment in each direction into a five-lane road, complete with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane designed to enhance safety and traffic flow. Will County, having invested over $6.2 million in engineering and design costs, is currently working on securing easements from 116 properties to facilitate the expansion, as stated by Jeff Ronaldson, the Director of Transportation for Will County.
However, a growing number of residents and officials are voicing their concerns, arguing that the widening could lead to increased noise and truck traffic, disrupt the rural ambiance, and promote speeding. Homer Township Trustee Angel Shake highlighted potential negative impacts on schools, a fire department, a church, and farms during discussions with the county board’s Transportation Committee.
Will County Board member Steve Balich, who also serves as the Homer Township supervisor, is actively opposing the project. Balich asserts that a majority of residents he has spoken to share his view, and he is working towards garnering support on the county board to halt the expansion, deeming it unfit for the nature of the region.
The resistance against the project has escalated, with Homer Township officially filing an objection to the widening, citing concerns such as excessive noise, increased traffic, environmental impact, and safety issues for homeowners pulling out of driveways. While the county argues that the widening is necessary to address congestion and improve safety, opponents are advocating for alternative solutions, such as a middle turn lane, which they believe would be more cost-effective and less intrusive. The debate has intensified, with various board members, including those most directly impacted by the expansion, expressing their dissent.
As the controversy unfolds, the fate of the 143rd Street widening project remains uncertain. The issue is scheduled for further discussion at upcoming county board meetings, where decisions will be made on whether to proceed with the project or consider alternative solutions that align with the preferences and concerns of the local community.
Homer Township is in opposition to the 143rd Street Expansion Project as it is not in full interest of the citizens and would like to urge the Will County Board to take into consideration the facts that are provided here.
- This project will have a negative impact on the environment. Cutting down trees, water run off issues, excessive noise, pollution, removing the rural nature of the area, are some of the environmental aspects Homer Township finds objective with the 143rd Street expansion.
- This project will cause a drastic increase in traffic as it will serve as a quick route rated for 80,000 pounds attracting trucks as well as cars moving to Cook County from I355.
- The project is a huge safety issue to large number of homes on 143rd Street that will have to pull out their Driveway directly into increased car and truck traffic.
- This project will have a negative impact on Sub-Divisions that connect to 143rd Street causing a similar problem as experienced by homes with driveways.
- This project has no benefit for Homer Township. It only benefits Cook County.
- This expansion of 143rd Street will cause property values to drop and take too much of the property owners land causing a loss of value. 115 properties are in court with either Quick Take or Eminent Domain forcing owners to sell. There are 3 schools on this route with District 92 speaking against the expansion on safety reasons.
- Government needs to respect the overwhelming number of people who live there and are against this expansion of 143rd Street. There have been hundreds of people who sent emails, called, and came to speak with not 1 in favor of this project.