To gain the local, on-the-ground understanding of the I-80 study area and the issues important to key stakeholders, the study team held one-on-one meetings to kick off the project with the following organizations:
- The Villages of Minooka, Channahon, Shorewood, Rockdale, and New Lenox
- The City of Joliet
- IDOT District 3
- Kendall, Grundy and Will Counties.
At these meetings, the study team provided an overview of the project, requested specific data or information that the organizations may have that is pertinent to the project, solicited suggestions for participants on the Project Working Group, and encouraged discussion of specific issues and concerns. A significant amount of valuable information was obtained that has assisted the study team with project development. Additional one-on-one meetings may be held as the study proceeds.
Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)
IDOT is using a process called Context Sensitive Solutions, or CSS, to involve study area stakeholders in the development of the I-80 project. According to IDOT’s CSS policy, a stakeholder is anyone who could be affected by the project and has a stake in its outcome. Stakeholders include residents and other interested parties who can help IDOT understand the needs for, and concerns about, the proposed project. IDOT’s goals for the CSS process include:
- Understand key concerns of study area stakeholders
- Involve stakeholders early and often in the decision-making process
- Address different types of transportation modes (bus, walking, transit)
- Be flexible about the design whenever possible to address stakeholders’ concerns ;and
- Develop a facility that fits into its surroundings by preserving scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility.
IDOT's Phase I study and CSS processes includes gathering input from the project stakeholders and the public before making a decision about a project. The I-80 project includes a Stakeholder Involvement Plan that sets goals for public and stakeholder involvement and identifies ways to help reach those goals.
The CSS process is led by a Project Study Group – also called the project team – which guides the alternatives development process, coordinates feedback from the project stakeholders and the general public, and makes the final decisions about the project. A Project Working Group is a group of stakeholders who provide input at key project milestones, including the purpose and need, alternatives, alternatives carried forward and – ultimately – the preferred alternative.
Public Input to Date
IDOT also reached out to potentially affected community members using newsletters, press releases, a project website and large-scale public meetings. These tools provided the public the information needed to make informed decisions and offer important input about the project alternatives. They also provided a way for the project team and the general public to discuss the trade-offs between the improvements and their impacts.
To date, the outreach efforts for the I-80 project have included seven Project Working Group meetings and three public meetings. The Project Study Group considered all input provided by the project’s stakeholders while developing, refining and recommending the alternatives to be carried forward.
As IDOT continues to develop the I-80 project, there will be more opportunities for stakeholders and the public to get involved and provide their input. A Public Hearing is yet to be held before the Phase I process is complete. The Public Hearing will present and solicit input on the preferred alternative that is ultimately selected for the improvement of the I-80 corridor.
What groups had input into the alternatives development process?
Three primary groups had input into the alternatives development process:
- Project Study Group – IDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the project consultant team.
- Project Working Group – City, county and other community leaders and officials; public and private interest groups; area residents; land use/planning professionals; and transportation agencies.
- General Public – Any person with an interest in the project.