The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on the proposed path of the long-discussed “Illiana Expressway,” a superhighway that would link Illinois’ Interstate 55 near Wilmington with Indiana’s I-65 near Cedar Lake.
According to a Chicago Tribune report, the federal “record of decision” issued last Friday ends the first phase of the project’s planning process and begins another round of environmental and financial analysis of the route.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider called the decision a “significant milestone” in the project’s development. “We look forward to moving forward as expeditiously as we can,” Schneider told the Tribune.
The Tribune notes that Illinois and Indiana transportation departments have been planning the “Illiana Expressway” project for years. However, despite federal approval, the superhighway has no guarantee of being built because no state or federal funding is available.
Officials hope to develop the highway as a public-private partnership and the superhighway will most likely be a toll road. The latest estimated cost is $1.25 billion for the 47-mi. project.
The highway project has the backing of officials in both states, but has drawn opposition from landowners in the area.