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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the physical limits of this project?

This study includes Gougar Road from Laraway Road to Francis Road. The section of Gougar Road from Francis Road to US 6 (Maple Road) is not included as part of this project and is not funded or included in the County’s current fiscal year (FY) 2022–2027 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). However, this section of Gougar Road is identified for similar widening to four lanes in the County’s 2040 Long Range Transportation Program.

What is the typical section that is proposed along Gougar Road?

The proposed improvement includes the reconstruction and widening of Gougar Road to meet the Will County Freeway design criteria. The Will County Freeway typical section consists of two lanes in each direction separated by a raised median with curb and gutter on either side. Additionally, improvements include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

What is the project schedule?

There are 3 phases of project development. Phase I encompasses the preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the improvement. This includes defining the roadway improvements, studying environmental impacts and mitigation, and right of way requirements. In this initial phase, public meetings and public hearings are held to provide an opportunity for those interested to provide their input and ask questions regarding the proposed improvements.

Phase II consists of development of the contract plans and acquisition of any necessary right of way.
Phase III refers to the actual construction of the improvement.

We are currently in the Phase I process for the Gougar Road study. We anticipate Phase I to be completed in 2022, with Phase II starting in 2023, and construction beginning in 2026. As noted, Phases II and III are subject to change based on the availability of funding and project readiness. The dates provided are as the project phases are currently programmed in the Will County Division of Transportation’s 5–year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

What other projects are ongoing along or adjacent to Gougar Road?

Below is a summary of projects, adjacent to or within the limits of the Gougar Road Study, that are in progress.

Gougar Road (CH 52) at Wisconsin Central LTD Railroad Grade Separation Phase I Study
This study is being conducted by the Village of New Lenox and includes proposing a Gougar Road grade separation over the Wisconsin Central (CN Railroad) at–grade crossing, located on Gougar Road just south of Lincoln Way West High School. Phase II (Engineering Design) is anticipated to begin in 2022 and has been added to the County’s 2022–2027 TIP. However, Phase III (Construction) is not currently funded.

Gougar Road (CH 52) over CNRR Grade Separation
This project is being performed by the Will County Division of Transportation (WCDOT) and is located on Gougar Road just south of Lincoln Way West High School. The Gougar Road grade separation project included a Phase I study performed by The Village of New Lenox. The scope of the project is to raise Gougar Road above the CNRR tracks. The project is currently in Phase II design and Phase III (construction) is anticipated to begin in 2024.

I–80 from Ridge Road to US Route 30
This project is being performed by IDOT. The I–80 project included a Phase I Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Studies project and Phase II design plans for near–term improvements. The scope of these near–term improvements was developed based on the project’s bridge inspections and traffic and crash analyses. The near–term study focused on specific existing corridor conditions that needed correction, rehabilitation, or reconstruction before the long–term project can be funded for construction. Near–term conditions included operational and safety deficiencies, pavement deficiencies, and structure rehabilitation/reconstruction needs that are present due to effects of use, time, and weather. As part of the planned improvement is the replacement of the Gougar Road over I–80 bridge.

What does Gougar Road’s classification mean?

Gougar Road (CH52) is a County Highway owned and maintained by the Will County Division of Transportation. It is classified as a Minor Arterial. The Federal Highway Administration defines a Minor Arterial as a route that provides service for trips of moderate length, serve geographic areas that are smaller than their higher Arterial counterparts, such as US 30, and offer connectivity to the higher Arterial system. At the February 2020 County Board Meeting, Resolution 20–44 designated Gougar Road from Laraway Road north to US Route 30 as a Class II Truck Route. IDOT has updated their maps to include the Class II Truck Route changes made in this resolution.

How was traffic counted and predicted for 2050?

Major notable generators of both passenger car and truck traffic on Gougar Road include two high schools, Joliet Park District and Forest Preserve District of Will County facilities, religious institutions, residential, commercial, and industrial developments including the Cherry Hill Business Park.

Gougar Road currently sees average daily traffic volumes of approximately 6,500 to 12,100 vehicles per day with hourly volumes as high as 1,160 vehicles per hour. The capacity of a 2–lane facility is up to 1,250 vehicles per hour, if exceeded, a 4–lane should be considered. Recently, Will County designated Gougar Road as a Class 2 Truck route. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (otherwise known as CMAP) has projected that traffic along Gougar Road will double by the year 2050 ranging from 17,400 to 26,800 vehicles per day with hourly volumes ranging as high as 1,895 to 2,385 vehicles per hour. This meets the design guidelines for a two–way 4–lane facility (exceeds 1,250 vehicles per hour) according to state guidelines and criteria for design.

CMAP is the region’s comprehensive planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. The agency has a variety of program activities that are distinct from and support the development and implementation of regional plans. These planning activities include Regional Economy, Livability Planning, Local Planning, Transportation Planning, and Transportation Programming.

More information about CMAP can be found here:

How is safety being considered in this project?

Based on analysis of the crash data obtained, countermeasures to be considered were recommended to reduce certain types of crashes. With high schools in the study proximity, driver experience and skill levels may be lower in this area. The most probable causes of crashes along the corridor include inappropriate speeds, slippery pavement, misjudged speed of on–coming traffic, restricted sight distance, large turning volumes, and poor visibility.

The varying speed limit of existing Gougar Road between Francis Road and Laraway Road will be evaluated for a constant posted speed limit of 45 mph which is consistent with the speed limits as proposed along other similar county highways in the area. A raised concrete median is proposed throughout the full length of the project per Will County standards. The proposed median will separate opposing traffic and mitigate potential head–on or opposing direction sideswipe crashes. The raised concrete median can also act as a refuge island for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing Gougar Road.

New safety measures are also being implemented at the Old Plank Road Trail and Gougar Road crossing to make the crossing more visible including high visible crosswalk markings, additional signage, and pedestrian signals. At the two railroad crossings, benefits of added lanes at the crossing include the additional lane for vehicles to maneuver into when special vehicles are required to stop at the railroad crossing, per state law.

What types of improvements will be included at the at–grade railroad crossings?

At the railroad at–grade crossings, the proposed improvements include recommended safety features as dictated by national railroad standards. These include escape areas, crossing gates, signalization, and flashing lights. Coordination is ongoing with railroad agencies including the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), Metra Rail, Canadian National Railway (CN), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to discuss standards and requirements for at–grade crossing improvements.

What bicycle and pedestrian accommodations are proposed in this study?

The proposed improvements include sidewalk and multi–use path along the corridor to improve bike and pedestrian connectivity along the corridor. Sidewalks are proposed along the western side of Gougar Road with the multi–use path proposed along the eastern side. The sidewalk will terminate at US 30; however, the multi–use path will continue north to connect the regional Old Plank Road Trail with Joliet Park District’s regional trails in Pilcher Park.

As part of this project, pedestrian signals are proposed at the Old Plank Road Trail. These signals are paired with pedestrian push buttons and the median serves as a pedestrian refuge island to facilitate the safe crossing of pedestrians at this mid–block location.

How is drainage being considered?

There are two existing floodplains along the corridor, one associated with Sugar Run and the other with Hickory Creek. Other than these two locations, there have been no identified flooding concerns along Gougar Road that are occurring as a result of the roadway. As there will be significant widening associated with this roadway improvement a mix of stormwater best management practices will be employed. A number of stormwater detention facilities are proposed along the corridor in addition to floodplain compensation areas to manage discharge rates and improve water quality. A closed drainage system utilizing a new storm sewer network is also proposed to collect roadway stormwater runoff.

How is noise being considered?

As part of this project, traffic noise will be studied and the potential need for noise abatement measures evaluated. The noise abatement evaluation is triggered by the determination of traffic noise impacts. The evaluation determines if abatement will meet IDOT’s Feasibility and Reasonableness Policy. In order to be feasible, noise abatement measures must achieve at least a 5 dB(A) traffic noise reduction at an impacted receptor and be feasible to construct. In order to be reasonable, noise abatement must be less than the $30,000 base value per benefitted receptor plus adjustment factors and achieve at least 8 dB(A) reduction at a benefited receptor. In addition, viewpoints of benefited receptors must be considered.

Any receptor afforded a 5 dB(A),or greater traffic noise reduction is considered a benefited receptor. This may include receptors with direct line of sight to the roadway and receptors shielded from the roadway by other buildings. The total number of benefited receptors is used to determine the cost per benefited receptor.

If the noise study determines that noise abatement walls are potentially feasible and economically reasonable, then documentation of support –or the lack of support –from residents and property owners identified as benefitted receptors will be solicited through a mailed survey. More information regarding this study and its results will be shared as the Phase I study progresses.

What happens if property is required?

Should property be required for the proposed roadway improvements or its construction, the following land acquisition process will be followed in Phase II. Acquiring land from property owners is a defined process that begins with creating a proposed design and laying out the proposed right of way lines. After property owners are contacted and informed of the acquisition process, multiple appraisals will take place to ensure just compensation. Then, negotiations between the property owners and negotiation team are held for a reasonable amount of time and a settlement is reached.

It is ensured that those whose properties are impacted are treated fairly, consistently, and equitably and do not suffer disproportionately as a result of programs designed for the benefit of the public as a whole.

There are 3 types of Acquisitions: Fee Simple, Permanent Easement, and Temporary Easement.

Fee Simple is the acquisition of all rights and interests. In a Permanent Easement acquisition, ownership is retained by the property owner and the County is allowed permanent use of the property to construct and maintain facilities. In a Temporary Easement acquisition, ownership is retained by the property owner and the County is allowed temporary use to construct minor improvements.

Who is paying for this project?

Gougar Road between Laraway Road and US Route 6 is owned and maintained solely by the Will County Division of Transportation. The Gougar Road project is completely funded in the County’s 2021–2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and includes all phases, including this study (Phase I), design (Phase II), right–of–way acquisition, and construction (Phase III). The TIP also discusses how projects are funded. The Will County FY 2021–2026 TIP can be found on the County’s website at: The project is being processed for potential future federal funding. Any federal funding received would free up the same amount of County funds, making them available for use on other County projects.

Where can I give feedback?

Feedback can be given using the comment form on the website.

Can I speak with someone directly?

If you need to speak with someone directly, please complete the comment form or send an email to

Additionally, Public Information Meeting 2 will be held on October 4, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Will County and project team members will be in attendance to take comments and answer any questions the public may have.