I-80 Project Information
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 has used 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 included residents and other interested parties who could help IDOT understand the needs for, and concerns about, the proposed project. IDOT’s goals for the CSS process included:
- 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 included gathering input from the project stakeholders and the public before making a decision about a project. The I-80 project included a Stakeholder Involvement Plan that set goals for public and stakeholder involvement and identified ways to help reach those goals.
The CSS process was led by a Project Study Group – also called the project team – which guided the alternatives development process, coordinated feedback from the project stakeholders and the general public, and made 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 for the Environmental Assessment
IDOT also reached out to potentially affected community members using newsletters, press releases, a project website and large-scale public meetings in development of the Environmental Assessment. 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.
The outreach efforts for the I-80 Environmental Assessment included seven Project Working Group meetings and three public meetings, two community meetings, and a public hearing held in 2019on two days at different locations. The Project Study Group considered all input provided by the project’s stakeholders while developing, refining and recommending a preferred alternative to be carried forward. The preferred alternative was selected for the improvement of the I-80 corridor and was presented at Public Hearings held in November 2019.
Des Plaines River Bridge Outreach
Over the last approximately 2 years, the Department has conducted additional focused community outreach efforts for the I-80 Des Plaines River Bridge Replacement portion of the project. This outreach has been ongoing to examine the impacts of the proposed Des Plaines River Bridge replacement to the surrounding community. Input was gathered from communities that could be directly or indirectly impacted by the Des Plaines River Bridge replacement and those who may experience a disproportionally high and adverse effect as a result of this improvement without additional mitigation.
Community input has helped the project team understand potential impacts and has shaped decision-making for the Des Plaines River Bridge replacement. In addition to questionnaires, the Department has met directly with the community, provided a dedicated community outreach liaison, and held a series community partner meetings to identify the scope and extent of impacts, to discuss potential solutions, and to finalize measures to minimize impacts to the surrounding community.
A Community Impact Assessment (CIA) report has been developed based on this outreach and additional technical analyses and provides recommended mitigation measures to address disproportionate and high adverse impacts to this community. Once the CIA is finalized, it will be included in the final Environmental Assessment findings of the project.