Vulcan Materials, which was accused in a lawsuit of damaging a now-closed one-mile stretch of Joliet Road (aka Route 66) in McCook, Ill., settled with the state of Illinois for $40 million, according to a news release today.
The company, which supplies asphalt and gravel, said it will pay $20 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation within 10 days. The remaining $20 million will be paid as Vulcan receives funds from its insurers.
The lawsuit, filed in 2001, came after the road became dangerously unstable and was closed. Vulcan operated quarries on both sides of the road, and the state maintains that those activities undermined it. The lawsuit finally was set to go to trial this month.
According to the Southtown Star:
Vulcan Materials Co. does not admit liability in the settlement, which was reached after three weeks of negotiation, IDOT said Tuesday.
However, the enormous size of the settlement and the fact the state was willing to go to trial suggest that Vulcan feared taking its case (such as it was) to the courtroom.
Alas, because of the road’s grave condition, it’s doubtful it will ever be reopened. Traffic is detoured onto a two-mile stretch of 55th Street and East Avenue.
UPDATE: An updated story by the Southtown contains this:
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) said it’s unlikely Joliet Road will be reopened, but he wants IDOT to explore options for relieving congestion on nearby streets caused by the closing. He said IDOT also must announce whether the road is being closed permanently.
“Not a month goes by that a person doesn’t ask me what the situation is with Joliet Road,” Lipinski said.
(Hat tip: Dave Clark)