NO. 7 BRIDGE: Negotiations in Illinois

Dec. 6, 2023
Building the Houbolt Road Extension was no walk in Channahon State Park

The Houbolt Road Extension is the first design/build steel girder bridge in Illinois, but it took a lot of negotiations for it to become a reality.

Burns & McDonnell designed the project, while contractors Granite and Kraemer built the extension, which spans the Des Plaines River. This project was no walk in nearby Channahon State Park.

Construction on HRE started March 2021 and finished in February 2023 (45 days ahead of schedule). Before construction could commence, an MOU was required to align all key stakeholders who were set to contribute to the privately funded and constructed Houbolt Road Extension and the publicly funded and constructed Diverging Diamond Interchange at I-80.

The four-party MOU leveraged public money for a diverging diamond interchange project at Interstate-80, north of the new structure. This was combined with the private funds for the Houbolt Road Extension project.

When the negotiations ended, the four parties agreed on the project because the extension would relieve truck congestion, move heavy trucks off neighborhood roads, and improve overall traffic efficiency.

In addition to uniting multiple parties, the team also needed to get the community onboard.

Public meetings were held before, during, and after construction to keep area residents informed on the progress of the project. The meetings also served as a way to prepare motorists for the new traffic patterns.

Pedestrians and bicyclists were also kept in mind during the design of the project. The design featured a pedestrian and bike path on the structure that is protected by a concrete barrier.

A CCTV system was installed to monitor bridge and roadway activity. This modern safety feature will improve crash response time. The Houbolt Road Extension finished in April. The project’s speed and collaborative aspects show that multiple parties can improve infrastructure when they communicate. RB

Project: Houbolt Road Extension 

Location: Joliet, IL 

Owners: Houbolt Road Extension JV, LLC (United Bridge Partners / CenterPoint Properties) 

Designer: Burns & McDonnell 

Contractor: Granite / Kraemer A Joint Venture 

Cost: Approx. $200 million 

Length: 1.5 miles 

Completion Date: April 2023