CHICAGO (CBS) — A tiny town just south of Joliet has reached out to state regulators in an effort to make changes to an intersection that sees very heavy truck traffic, in order to keep cargo moving while avoiding a possible catastrophe.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports more than 8,000 trucks go through the intersection of Route 53 and Walter Strawn Drive to go in and out of CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
“At Route 53 and Walter Strawn is a complex intersection that involves ingress and egress of commercial truck traffic to the industrial park, along with a railroad crossing,” said Elwood Police Chief Fred Hayes.
Last year, truck drivers broke through railroad crossing gates 50 times to avoid being hit by oncoming trains, after they got stuck waiting for the light at Route 53 and Walter Strawn.
The village has reached out to the Illinois Commerce Commission in its effort to find short-term and long-term fixes.
Hayes said that bottleneck needs relief from a grade separation and bridge, likely to cost upwards of $50 million.
CenterPoint Properties has sued the village in an effort to block new restrictions that prohibit trucks from using Walter Strawn Drive as a shortcut from Route 53 to a Union Pacific intermodal facility a few miles north in Joliet, in favor of an interchange at Interstate 55 and Arsenal Road.
Earlier this year, Elwood police released dashboard camera video of a truck going through a railroad crossing gate, to illustrate the dangerous conditions at the intersection of Route 53 and Walter Strawn Drive.