Roads of the Mid-South & West > Highways of the State of Illinois > Future Illiana Expressway
The proposed connection between I-65 and I-57 in Eastern Will County, Illinois, and Southern Lake County, Indiana.
This proposed highway would connect Interstate 57 and Interstate 65 along a area near Crete-Monee Road. The highway would run from near Monee, Illinois to near Crown Point, Indiana. The Illinois side of the highway has recived great support from various govenment agencies, with a few exceptions. Those being the Village of Monee, who formally opposes construction. The Village of Beecher also opposes the highway if it is with in 15 miles of thier corporate limits. Beecher though wants to move the semi-tractor truck traffic out of their town.
Map from INDOT
In Indiana, the idea of a new expressway is not welcomed so warmly. Other than grassroots support, their has been little effort on this side of the state line. Most of that comes from the lack of support from Indiana Congressman Peter Visclosky. Reportedly, he refuses to back the highway, because it would play into the hands of the supporters of the proposed South Suburban Airport. North of U.S. Rt. 30, support for the highway also disapates. Oddly enough this is the area the would see a reduction in traffic tie-ups is the pressure of the over-crowded highway is easied by a new east-west corridor.
The main goal of this expressway would to give this area another way for trucks to cross the state line. Also, give a alternate to the heavaly traveled Borman Expressway (I-80/94/U.S. Rt. 6).
The Kankakee Daily Journal is reporting in their Monday, September 15th, 2005 edition that the leaders of and effort to establish and east-west expressway were returning contributions from local communities. The cause is citied as the lack of support from Indiana.
On Wednesday, April 12, 2006 the Indiana Economic Digest reported that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said one of the ideas for building the highway would be to make it a toll road. In April, 2006 the Indiana General Assembly gave Gov. Daniels the authority to build new toll roads. So now there are options to lease or build highways to a private group.
The Northwest Indiana Times is reported on November 29, 2006 that planning by both Illinois and Indiana are in progress for the expressway. The two states agreed that Indiana would take the lead in planning for the inital highway corridor. The study for the highway is set to begin in the spring of 2007. As stated before the highway would connect I-57 and I-65. As of the report Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels still backs the idea of the highway being funded by tolls, while Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hasn't agreed. In another bi-state project (New Mississippi River Bridge), Gov. Blagojevich has opposed tolling that highway.
A "memorandum of understanding" between that State of Illinois and Indiana has been sign. The December 12, 2006 edtion of the Northwest Indiana Times confirmed. This also laid out the planned route of the highway. It would run from I-57, in Illinois, across Will County to Indiana. Once in Indiana it would run between Cedar Lake and Lowell to I-65. After I-65 it would curve northward through Porter and La Porte Counties to I-94, at Michigan City. Acording to this article Illinois plans to extend I-355 from I-80 to meet with this highway. "Corridor legislation" is expected to be introduced to the Indiana General Assembly in its 2007 session. This would allow Indiana to lock in a route for its portion of the expressway.
Plans being made for the Illiana Expressway may have the highway become a toll highway. Plus, for the first time in the Chicagoland Area have truck only lanes. With growth coming near the new intermodal devlopments south of Joliet, talks have started to extend the proposed highway west to I-55. **Chicago Tribune; "Illiana Expressway: Proposed interstate tollway would link Illinois, Indiana"; 5 October 2009
The CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development says the Illiana Expressway is now the hottest transportation story in Illinois. The CED is lobbing for the highway to be extened to Interstate 55. Also, they want a law that would allow public-private partnership of the road, phase one engineering study for the environmental survey to allow for right-of-way acquition, have the link from Interstate 57 to Interstate 55 in the original plan to preseve the right-of-way. They also want an eight-lane highway with two truck lanes. **Joliet Herald News; "Officials lobby for expressway progress"; 18 November 2009
2 February 2010