Vulcan Materials Co. recently reached a $40 million settlement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in the case of The People of the State of Illinois v. Vulcan Materials Co., No. 01 CH 15986. The Illinois property damage lawsuit was brought by IDOT against Vulcan Materials Co. regarding damage the company caused to a mile-long section of Joliet Road in McCook, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago.
The section of the road at issue was closed in 1998 after IDOT experts found that the road was no longer safe for public use. According to the IDOT experts, the damage was caused by limestone mining by Vulcan along both sides of Joliet Road. The mining had caused the road to buckle, making it unusable.
Vulcan contended, and continues to contend despite the settlement, that the damage to the road was caused not by its mining, but by an earthquake. However, since the case ended with a settlement and not a jury trial, the issue of who or what caused the damage was not determined. A settlement does not require an admittance of guilt on behalf of either party, but just requires that both parties agree to bring an end to the lawsuit.
According to the terms of the settlement, the $40 million settlement will be broken up into an iniital payment of $20 million followed by several additional payments over the course of 9 months. IDOT representatives have stated that the money from the settlement will not be used to repair the damaged portion of Joliet Road that was the issue of the lawsuit. According to state engineers that portion of Joliet Road is no longer repairable. Instead the settlement funds will be applied to upgrading surrounding roadways that experienced an increase in usage after the damage portion of Joliet Road was closed.
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