Truck traffic projects scrutinized in Chicago

Dec. 29, 2004
Focus on easing truck traffic congestion in Chicago

Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization that advocates municipal projects and investments, has focused its attention on the need for speedier truck routes. In its most recent report, “The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods”, made a series of recommendations to reduce traffic congestion.

The recommendations include:

  • Implementing barrier-free tolling technology similar to I-PASS on state tollways to create a system of user fees and variable pricing on the region’s most congested highways.
  • Designate and protect freight centers so that development is limited to corridors that could most readily support new industrial development and reduce freight trips.
  • Maximize the ability of rail to carry more freight.
  • Eliminate gaps in the region’s state-designated truck routes by directing at least $3 billion over the next 25 years to improve and expand arterial streets.
  • create county planning organizations to establish efficient truck route networks.

    “Without drastic changes in the way we plan to invest and to handle freight movements, truck traffic alone will consume at least half and perhaps as much as two-thirds of all highway capacity we plan to add in the region over the next two decades,” said Jim LaBelle deputy director of Chicago Metropolis 2020.

    The region plans to spend $63 billion on transportation projects over the next 25 years.

    The organization notes that the overhaul of the region’s transportation network may be fraught with inefficiencies if there is a lack of coordination between the constituencies in the budget.

    The railroad and trucking industries handle almost $1 trillion worth of freight going to and from the Chicago region, the organization said.

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