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Median key issue with 143rd Street project

Updated: March 3, 2014 3:11PM



A barrier median will be a hot topic Wednesday night when the Will County Highway Department holds a public hearing on the proposed widening of 143rd Street from Lemont Road to Bell Road in Homer Glen.

The hearing is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at Hadley Middle School, 15731 Bell Road. The public will have a chance to view exhibits and ask questions.

The preliminary design shows a barrier median along most of the three-mile route as a safety measure, county highway engineer Bruce Gould said. That’s similar to what the Illinois
Department of Transportation has proposed for the widening of 159th Street in Homer Glen, which drew heavy criticism from businesses along that corridor.

The widening project will install two lanes in each direction with two left-turn lanes at Bell Road, even though 143rd Street mostly is residential or vacant land.

“We do not want traffic traversing across multiple lanes of traffic,” Gould said, adding that there would be breaks in the median where traffic dictates, such as at entrances to subdivisions.

But Will County Board members Steve Balich and Mike Fricilone, both Republicans from Homer Glen, oppose the barrier median.

“I have no problem with widening the road, but I don’t like the median,” Balich said. “There is nothing positive about it.”

He said the median would impact 70 homeowners who may not be able to turn into their driveways without making a U-turn.

“It does not bring extra safety, and the county does not have the money for it,” he said.

Balich helped landowners fight the barrier median along 159th Street. IDOT made some adjustments but did not eliminate the median from its plan.

Balich said opponents have a “better chance” of fighting the median on 143rd Street because it is a county project.

If there is a lot of opposition to the median, “we may make other provisions” for the project, which is still a few years away, Gould said.

After the public hearing, the 143rd Street plan may be revised and will be sent to the federal government for approval. After that, the county will begin to acquire the right-of-way for the project, Gould said.



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