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Should Wolf Road Get an I-80 Interchange?

I Love Mokena: Share your thoughts and suggestions about the possibility of an exit off Interstate 80 into Mokena.

Welcome back.

For many years now there have been on again and off again discussions about an expressway interchange at I-80 and Wolf Road. This intersection is pretty much split between Mokena and Orland Park, with both communities required to agree on any type of plan before a single shovel of dirt can be tossed.

The village of Mokena has grown by leaps and bounds since any serious discussion about the interchange took place.

Countless proposals were reviewed and comprehensive studies were commissioned to evaluate the necessity and desire to have such an interchange at the location. No action has been taken for many years and any type of solution, no matter what the logistics,  is languishing in bureaucracy.

While this is not the place to get lost in the details, it is a convenient spot to rekindle the discussion. Currently, when traveling on Interstate 80, there is an eight mile gap between the interchanges at LaGrange Road in Mokena and U.S. 30 in New Lenox. In between lies the connection to I-355.

Well, Mokena, the town that we all love, now is as good a time as any to hear your comments and suggestions. If you're in favor, or not, of expressway access at I-80 at Wolf Road please drop me a line with your thoughts. Whatever your feelings, it would add to the discussion if you could give a brief synopsis on why you feel that way.

In the mean time I'll be out there looking for more ways to love Mokena.

Anthony A Dina Jr. April 30, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Due to all the traffic congestion at I-80 & 191st during the peak hours of commuting an additional on off ramp would be a great asset to the community.
Gina Alexander April 30, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I was just telling my daughter how great an interchange at Wolf and 80 would be. I know it has been discussed many times and I believe now is the time to take it very seriously. Let's move forward!!!
William Caldwell April 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Traffic is bad enough as it is. A Wolf Road interchange will make it worse.
Pattie Curtis April 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I think it would be a huge improvement for the community. It would eliviate some of the congestion that occurs on 191st/LaGrange, encourage more people to go through town and spend money, help decrease the time it takes for some residents to get on I-80, and lastly assist travelers who may miss the exit for LaGrange while traveling to the area.
Metro April 30, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Not a bad idea. I think it would help business on Wolf in Mokena but I think Wolf road would need to be widened and Mokena officials would have to make sure that Wolf road would not lose it's charm. The first vision of Mokena that most outsiders see is the intersection at 191st and LaGrange. This intersection is a mish-mosh of businesses with no uniformity or planned vision. The village should have done a better job of requiring these businesses to have a uniform look that gives Mokena a positive identity. Mokena does have alot of charm but most outsiders never see these parts that are less traveled. And I would hope that by making the roads more traveled that the charm is not lost.
Steve Pollak April 30, 2012 at 04:47 PM
A full interchange at Wolf/I-80 would be a good idea, helping to alleviate congestion on LaGrange Road & 191st Street, and bringing traffic flow into the “downtown” area which seems to be a concern of many. However, due to the shortsightedness of the Village’s elected officials in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a full-interchange will most likely never be a reality, since the current 2-lane/common left-turn lane configuration was the result of an agreement between the Village and IDOT, giving the Village of Mokena responsibility for the roadway in lieu of IDOT constructing a typical 4-lane arterial road. Consequently, if a full-interchange was constructed, in all probability the Village of Mokena would be accountable for the re-construction of Wolf Road (south of I-80) to accommodate the added traffic flow the interchange would create. It’s interesting to speculate how extensive of a tax base would been developed in the area surrounding Wolf Road/I-80, and in the “downtown” area if the IDOT “professionals” would have been allowed the opportunity to execute their original plan.
DR- Mokena April 30, 2012 at 05:16 PM
If there was it would benefit the Orland population more than Mokena. Going southbound off I-80 onto Wolf Rd into Mokena is not going to benefit the stores, etc. Between 187th and 191st on Wolf Rd there isn't much to choose from.
DR- Mokena April 30, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Surprised that Don Labriola would even bring this up.....if he lived near Wolf Rd he surely would not want it....he's the same trustee that lobbied heavily against Cherry Street going through to 191st Street years ago, because he lives on Cherry Street and did not want the traffic congestion. Hmm.... Be consistent Don !
Metro April 30, 2012 at 06:10 PM
You could say the same about the trustees that all live over by Wolf road and have protected that area from any development for years while caring very little about LaGrange road or anything east of there. Now everyone that enters Mokena has the impression that Mokena just pukes out buildings with very little thought, vision, planning or esthetics. These same trustees currently whine about the area west of LaGrange having very little business tax revenue. Boo Hoo...this is what you wanted boys.
Vince DiFiore April 30, 2012 at 07:27 PM
A interchange at 80 and Wolf makes perfect sense to me,it always has in order for the village to grow you need 2 acess points the one at Lagrange is over loaded. If Orland wants it we should support it.
David Sanbourn April 30, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Think of how fast you could get to Silver Cross with a ramp on Wolf. I think Mokena would loose some of it's small town charm... Bwhahahhahaha Sorry, this has been discussed forever. Wolf is barely passable as it is now. Put a few dozen trucks on there and see what happens. Unfortunately, the Metra crossing in the middle of town doesn't help matters. Ever notice how they avoid grade-level crossings in other countries? We could always widen Wolf Rd, but remember how long it took to just get the stoplight turned back on at Wolf & Front ? Yowsa. Could take 20 years to complete Wolf widening.
Don Labriola April 30, 2012 at 09:09 PM
DR-Mokena I really appreciate your comments and respect your opinion, but I have not weighed in on the subject. I've responded to discussions taking place around our beautiful little village. I have simply asked, without leaning in any direction, for input from our readers. I really would enjoy discussing it further. If you want to call or email me that would be great. In your many postings in Mokena Patch you appear credible and very supportive of the community. In further discussion you may agree that there are stark differences between Wolf Road amd Cherry Street. Nonetheless your input is appreciated. Thanks, Don.
Karen Schultz May 01, 2012 at 02:32 AM
NO. Absolutely not. This is not a business district in Mokena and the traffic into a residential area is never a good idea. Those who have worked in retail know of the unsafe outcomes of being near interchanges for crime. Easy on, easy off for those who do not belong in the area. NO thank you! And by the way, since the village of Mokena is responsible for Wolf road since the last road widening project, we would be flippling the bill for it dear residents of Mokena.
Tom Strobing May 01, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Wolf road is only two lanes can you imagine the traffic jambs. The traffic that it would create for all us residence . I forgot Mr. Labriola doesn't live by there so it doesn't matter to him. Remember Cheery street that you did not want. Oh yea that's by your house.Stop trying to create problems in our town most of us have your number.
Don Labriola May 01, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Mr. Strobing, can you please highlight the part of Monday's I Love Mokena column where I state my support, or not, for an interchange at I-80 & Wolf Road. As I explained earlier, the subject was brought up and I wrote a column to get the opinion of our community. Your feelings and opinions are just as important as everyone else's in Mokena. The fact that I don't live near Wolf Road has no bearing. In my elected duties I have a responsibility to all of our residents and I take that very seriously. You certainly have a right to your opinion and I respect that. I would be happy to discuss Cherry Street with you or anyone else. This column is not the place for that. Please contact me and we can setup a time to talk. Thank you.
Ron Kenning May 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Absolutely not!! Do people not see the back ups on Wolf already??? Try getting on to wolf from 194th about 330PM! That is an insane thing to even consider!!
Ron Kenning May 03, 2012 at 04:29 PM
The idea that it would alleviate congestion at 191 and Lagrange is absurd also! You would have to upgrade wolf rd in both directions. You would soon have the same congested intersections at 187 and 183rd. Why us it do bad to have Lagrange exit and 355 exit bracket us? Is it really that difficult for people to drive to get on 80? Some people want to be the next Orland park. As for front street businesses, I've been hearing that issue all my life! The traffic on Wolf sits still now , does that bring Front st business? No! There is nothing to offer people on Front street , that's the problem. Time and money wasted and it is not appealing nor does it have anything to lure people there! How come Frankfort and Tinley, which has done wonders , can do it? They didn't need an Oak Park inner change did they?
Jane McGinn May 04, 2012 at 02:35 PM
There was discussion at one point of a split intersection with traffic exitting I80 northbound at Wolf Road and then traffic exitting southbound for the exchange to be at Schoolhouse Road and I80 - there is still an open traffic study for Schoolhouse Road isn't there?

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