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Privately built toll bridge designed to ‘help truckers maximize driver hours’ opens in Illinois today

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On Thursday, the Houbolt Road Extension will open to traffic in the Joliet, Illinois, area.

The Houbolt Road Extension is set to open at 10 a.m. on April 27. The Houbolt Road Extension is made up of a 1.5-mile-long highway extension, including a 0.4-mile-long bridge over the Des Plaines River.

The road will provide a direct route between I-80 and the CenterPoint Intermodal Center (CIC) in Elwood, Illinois. As the nation’s largest inland port, about 20,000 trucks visit the CIC each day.

Officials hope that the new toll road will “significantly reduce congestion on local roads and shorten long routes to the highway, saving drivers time, miles, and money … This new bridge will help truckers maximize driver hours while creating a new avenue for companies to optimize their resources.”

The Houbolt Road Extension uses an all-electronic system that accepts toll payments through I-PASS, E-ZPass, and Pay by Plate to keep traffic flowing smoothly. The tolling gantry is located between the bridge and US Route 6; toll rates are tiered based on vehicle class, which is determined by vehicle height, width, and length. For drivers paying with a transponder, the rate for Class 1/passenger/light vehicles is $2.00, Class 2/medium vehicles are $4.00, and Class 3/large vehicles are $8.00. Pay-by-Plate rates include an additional $3.50 administrative fee for each crossing,” officials explained in a news release.

The bridge was privately financed as part of a partnership between United Bridge Partners (UBP) and CenterPoint Properties. Construction began in March 2021. The companies financed and constructed the project and will operate and maintain the bridge while collecting tolls under a 99-year lease agreement with the City of Joliet.

“United Bridge Partners is honored to serve the Joliet community by funding, building, and operating the Houbolt Road Extension,” shared UBP president and CEO Doug Witt. “Teamed with CenterPoint Properties, together we were able to rebuild and enhance the road and bridge infrastructure in Illinois. We are proud to open a new road to economic growth and prosperity that will advance the entire region for years to come.”

“Over the past 20 years, the CIC has grown into an invaluable part of the supply chains of many of the world’s leading companies. A new, third access point to the Park is critical, and we’re excited to open the extension to manage traffic within CIC productively,” said Michael Murphy, CenterPoint’s chief development officer. “The HRE is a shining example of what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal entities partner with private companies to impact communities positively. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships with community groups and leaders in the cities surrounding the CIC,” Murphy finished.

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