BRADLEY — Although it took an extended effort, CSL Behring recently gained its coveted permit to begin its new plant entrance along Illinois Route 50.
CSL spokeswoman Maureen Powell said Gallagher Asphalt Corporation of Bourbonnais is expected to begin work on the new employees and visitors entrance the week of July 22.
“We are ready to get started,” said Jess Bartels, infrastructure program manager at CSL.
The entrance will be located along Route 50 at the Lowe’s Home Improvement intersection. The new entrance will make this a four-way intersection. Currently, there is only an access point to Lowe’s, located on the east side of Route 50.
Gaining an IDOT permit proved to be not an easy task. A CSL officials eventually went public with the company’s frustration this spring regarding the lack of movement on the new entrance.
It was at that point movement started to happen.
Regardless of what it took to get the project in motion, Powell said the company is pleased work with begin this summer. Powell could not confirm when the road work would be completed.
A right-turning lane will be added to Route 50.
The entrance to the plant will be five lanes. Two lanes will be for incoming traffic, and there will be three lanes leaving the plant — right and left turn lanes, as well as a straight-through lane.
CSL declined to state the cost of this infrastructure project.
The region also is seeking to have the Route 50 and Armour Road intersection upgraded. This intersection currently handles all the traffic going in and out of the 138-acre site. Traffic in this area often significantly backs up.
The company is in the early stages of a 10-year, 1.8 million-square-foot plant expansion.
The expansion, known as CSL’s South Campus, occupies the former Bunge Edible Oil property. CSL purchased the property in 2018, shortly after Bunge closed the plant.
“We are thankful to IDOT, Rep. (Lindsey) Parkhurst, Sen. (Toi) Hutchinson, (Kankakee County Board) Chairman Andy Wheeler and all community stakeholders for helping to make this happen,” said Mike Deem, CSL’s general manager. “Access to Route 50 not only helps CSL Behring, but the larger community, as it will help alleviate traffic congestion on Armour Road.”
An officials ribbon-cutting for the project will take place later this month.
CSL currently employs about 1,600. That number likely is to be significantly increased during the next several years, but officials have declined to state how high the employment figure might go.
CSL is Kankakee County’s top manufacturing site in terms of employment.
Kankakee County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler was on hand at the ceremony to sign the IDOT permit over to CSL.
Construction of this new entrance and the accompanying road work will cause traffic issues, but Bartels said this is something CSL is asking for some understanding from the community.
“We will all have to deal with it, but this is for the greater (community) good,” she said.
In addition to the road and intersection, CSL is having Gallagher construct a 10-foot-wide public, asphalt multi-use path on the east side of the plant. The first phase of the path will be about 3,800 feet long, about three-quarters of a mile long.
The path will be lengthen as plant construction allows.
CSL is a global biotherapeutics leader. Medications produced here are used to treat those with blood clotting disorders, immune deficiencies and inherited respiratory disease, among others.