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Local freight clusters and truck bottlenecks

Freight is a critical component of the economy in northeastern Illinois and generates significant demand on the region’s highway network. Freight development tends to co-locate, so understanding the relationship between these clusters and areas of truck congestion can help prioritize both transportation investments and local land use decisions to support freight movement while ensuring strong quality of life for residents.

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  • Greater O'Hare Freight Cluster toggle map layer
  • Core Midway Freight Cluster toggle map layer
  • North Chicagoland Freight Cluster toggle map layer
  • South Cook Freight Cluster toggle map layer
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Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan

Trucks in Will County

 


In contrast to older, established freight clusters in the region, Will County is an emerging freight center with a relatively new and comparatively large industrial facilities. The area has a strong specialization in modern distribution facilities and is home to several large and growing intermodal terminals. Notable truck bottlenecks in the cluster include portions of IL-53, Weber Rd., US-6, and I-55.

 


Maintaining the region’s status as North America’s freight hub requires investing strategically in the freight network. In light of the rapid growth of freight movement in the area, Will County and the Will County Center for Economic Development joined other stakeholders to prepare the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan. The plan uses a wide range of analytical tools – including freight corridor, bottleneck, and congestion analysis – and identifies key freight related projects for future investment.  In particular, it focuses on reducing the local impacts of quickly increasing truck traffic, balancing economic and quality of life needs.

O'Hare Subregion truck Routing and Infrastructure Plan


The Greater O'Hare cluster is the largest and densest freight cluster in metropolitan Chicago. It has a heavy concentration of warehouse uses, a very high density of truck routes, and easy access to O'Hare International Airport, the region's largest air cargo facility. This cluster contains 22 percent of the region's freight and manufacturing employment. A number of significant truck bottlenecks cross the cluster, including portions of I-90, I-294, Irving Park Rd., Busse Rd., Mannheim Rd., and North Ave.


Maintaining the region’s status as North America’s freight hub requires focusing on improving local and regional truck travel. In order to improve truck travel in the O’Hare subregion, 11 communities in the area collaborated through CMAP’s Local Technical Assistance Program to develop a coordinated truck routing network. They worked across jurisdictions to create consistent truck routes, limiting truck traffic in residential and sensitive areas while still providing connected and consistent routes.

Improving truck access to the Illinois International Port District


South Cook is the least-dense freight cluster in the region and features relatively high vacancy rates paired with small parcels and old buildings, potentially making redevelopment of existing industrial land a challenge. It does, however, have access to an extensive network of rail and truck infrastructure, as well as much of the region's water cargo system. A number of the truck bottlenecks in the cluster are near the area’s water freight facilities. I-90, 103rd St., Torrence Ave., and I-94 near the Illinois International Port District (IIPD) experience significant congestion, in part a result of the significant intermodal freight movement that occurs in the region.

 


Maintaining the region’s status as North America’s freight hub requires investing strategically in the freight network. An IIPD project near two truck bottlenecks in 2017 received funds from Cook County’s Invest in Cook program. A preliminary engineering grant for the reconstruction of Butler Drive will eliminate degraded pavement and dirt sections of the road, improving safety for trucks accessing numerous bulk material suppliers and logistics firms operating in the port. Maintaining our region’s freight hub status also requires mitigating the negative impacts of freight on adjacent areas, particularly economically disconnected areas. CMAP is creating a planning priorities report IIPD – which is an economically disconnected area – to identify opportunities to advance the interests of both IIPD and the surrounding area.