New Illinois Casino Has Aurora Residents Worried About Traffic Problems

Written By C.J. Pierre on June 14, 2023
Aurora, Illinois

Hollywood Casino Resort held an open house for local residents, allowing them to gain insights into the new project coming near Interstate 88.

This follows Penn Entertainment’s decision to relocate its two riverboat Illinois casinos, with one of them heading to land in Aurora. It’s an operation that is part of a $500 million investment plan.

The new entertainment destination will bring a lot of money to the community. However, some locals are concerned about the negatives a new casino could bring to their neighborhood.

Aurora residents concerned about heavy traffic

Worries over traffic were on the minds of people who went to an open house about the proposed new location of the Hollywood Casino in Aurora. Residents of a neighborhood off Church Road fear traffic will increase on that road, with people using it as a back way to access the new Illinois casino.

The casino will be built on land bounded by Church and Bilter Roads and Farnsworth Avenue, north of Corporate Boulevard. The casino will face Farnsworth, but there will be an entrance in the back off of Church.

A traffic engineer says delivery trucks will use the Church entrance. But one resident countered that since an employee parking lot will be in the rear, they believe workers who live south and west of the casino will use Church to get in rather than winding around to entrances on Farnsworth.

Some residents have requested the city and the developer research the effect of increased traffic on Annunciation Catholic Church and School, located at a four-way stop. According to its website about the casino plans, Penn Entertainment plans to add lanes to Farnsworth and Bilter as part of the project.

Commissioners express their concerns

During a public hearing, two commissioners asked about the effect on traffic. 

Commissioner Nancy Martinez appeared concerned about how busy the intersection would become. Similarly, Commissioner Yvonne Owusu-Safo asked if the city is coordinating with the Illinois Tollway regarding the casino’s effect on the entrance and exit ramps for I-88. 

According to the Daily Herald, a city engineer said streets would be upgraded to include right-turn lanes. The engineer also says there was a chance the intersection could qualify for a traffic light. 

As for the casino’s effect on the entrance and exit ramps, plans are calling for the Illinois Tollway to reopen one of the lanes on the exit from the westbound tollway to Farnsworth. The lane was previously closed after the tollway removed a coin-collecting toll machine.

Hollywood Casino Aurora site rezoned site and gets a conditional-use permit

The Hollywood Casino in Aurora checked off another item on its moving to-do list. The Aurora Planning and Zoning Commission approved requests to rezone the site and for a conditional-use permit.

The 16.8-acre site is currently zoned for business, wholesale and manufacturing use. If the city council approves the change, it will be zoned for business and wholesale uses, with a conditional-use planned development.

The city council’s business, zoning and economic development committee will now consider the requests at its upcoming meeting. If the committee approves them, it will forward them to the city council.

Photo by Shutterstock
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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Illinois. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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