Will County and the Will County Center for Economic Development are seeking public input on their Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan through a series of open houses and an online survey.
The $1 million study is designed to keep freight moving through the area and keep communities safe by reducing truck traffic in residential areas.
Among the top issues the study will address include safety, traffic congestion, employee retention, limited access to intermodal yards and government regulations.
Three open houses will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on May 16 at the William E. Dugan Training Center, 19800 W. South Arsenal Road, in Wilmington; May 17 at the Plainfield Village Hall Community Room, 24401 W. Lockport Street, Plainfield; and May 18 at the New Lenox Village Hall, 1 Veterans Parkway, New Lenox.
The online survey is available now at www.tiny.cc/WCFreightPlan and will remain open until May 19.
Will County has seen a 138 percent growth in transportation, distribution and logistics jobs in the last 10 years, which is "exponentially larger" than other regions, and freight-dependent industries represent over 57 percent of all private sector jobs in the county, project consultant Ann Schnieder recently reported.
This growth has created congestion and a need to widen area interstates, and design east-west connections, she said.
She also noted that companies have difficulty attracting and retaining employees because in part to a lack of public transit options and affordable housing.
The Freight Plan is a holistic plan that will cover freight mobility, land-use integration, workforce development, education/training and community livability. Once completed, it will identify freight corridors, prioritize infrastructure projects and help the county secure funding for such projects.
More information about the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan is at www.willcountyfreight.org.