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Study Proposes New Interstate To Link Illinois, Indiana

By Jake Guidry in News on Oct 5, 2009 8:40PM

[Photo by swanksalot.]
We may have lost the Olympics and all the construction/repairs that come along with it, but to nurture our souls we can look to a brand new interstate! According to the Chicago Tribune, a recent study indicates a potential need for a new interstate linking Illinois and Indiana due to increasing traffic rates. The proposed interstate, dubbed The Illiana Expressway, could cut congestion significantly along with providing a surge to the region’s economy. The proposed 25 to 30 mile stretch, operating as a tollway, would connect I-57 in Will County with I-65 in Lake County, Indiana and would cost as much as $1 billion.

According to the study, conducted by consulting firm Cambridge Systematics Inc., I-80/94, I-90 and U.S. Highway 30 carry a combined 216,000 vehicles a day across the Illinois-Indiana border. Anyone who braves these on a regular basis knows full well that the traffic can be awful. To make matters worse, the rate of congestion is predicted to grow by nearly 64% by 2030, according to the study. Hence, we have the proposed Illiana. The interstate would consist of eight lanes, including what could be four truck-only lanes to accommodate the rapidly increasing traffic of these types of vehicles.

However, there has been opposition to The Illiana, a project that’s been in talks for years. In 2006, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniel’s tried to push the project along but encountered heavy resistance. On our side of the border, Illinois officials say the proposed highway doesn't go far enough, and planners add that it should extend all the way to I-55 near Joliet. Indiana legislators have already begun reviewing the study. Sen. Sue Landske of Cedar Lake said the panel hopes to make its recommendation by the end of the year.