Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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UNSTABLE ROAD FOUNDATION,
VULCAN MATERIALS COMPANY'S RESISTANCE, FORCE JOLIET ROAD TO REMAIN CLOSED

IDOT Litigation with Vulcan Materials Pending;
Resolution Proceeds Would Be Used to Offset Effects of Road Closure

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), citing public welfare and safety concerns, announced today that it is not feasible to repair and reopen the section of Joliet Road from 55th Street to East Avenue in McCook.

IDOT's experts recently concluded that the roadway, destabilized from years of mining by Vulcan Materials Company, is still moving. In light of the continued movement of the roadway, any attempts to repair and reopen Joliet Road would require frequent and expensive maintenance, including lane closures. In addition, Vulcan Materials has not agreed to the state-requested mining setbacks and land contributions that would be necessary to implement any of the repair options that have been considered since the section of Joliet Road was closed in 1998.

“IDOT's focus is on protecting communities and motorists near Joliet Road , and resolving this six-year dispute with Vulcan Materials,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin. “Any proceeds from the resolution of this litigation will be used to fund area roadway improvements to offset the effects of the Joliet Road closure.”

The one-mile stretch of Joliet Road in southwest Cook County was closed in May 1998 because the road was substantially damaged and unsafe for vehicular traffic. Since the closure, more than 20,000 cars and trucks that used the road each day have been re-routed.

For years Vulcan Materials, a Fortune 500 company, has blasted and mined stone from the McCook Quarry. A leading national producer of construction materials, Vulcan Materials' Web site boasts that it is among the top 10 companies in America for social responsibility in Fortune Magazine's “Most Admired Companies” list.

“Corporate responsibility,” the Vulcan Materials' web site says, “refers to a company's commitment to consistently operate its business in a manner that meets or surpasses the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations society has of it. The public expects a responsible company to demonstrate its respect for ethical values, employees, members of the community and the environment while it sustains its commercial success.”

“The state of Illinois would like Vulcan Materials to live up to its own standard of social responsibility and do the right thing,” said Martin. “It is IDOT's hope that in the near future these legal issues can be resolved. In the meantime, we will move forward with the litigation and work to improve the arterial roads affected by the Joliet Road closure.”

IDOT will hold a Public Hearing at 7 p.m. on December 15, 2004 at Lyons Township Town Hall , 6404 South Joliet Road in Countryside to present the roadway improvement recommendations included in a Traffic Impact Study (TIS) designed to respond to the increased traffic congestion caused by the Joliet Road closure.

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