Hearings to gather public comment on three proposed routes for the Illiana Expressway are on tap this week in Indiana and Illinois.
The Indiana hearing will start at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Lowell Middle School, 19250 Cline Ave. The Illinois hearing will start the day before at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Peotone High School, 605 W. North St. Residents of each state can attend either or both hearings.
Both hearings run until 8 p.m. and the public can come and go as they wish.
Officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation will be at the hearings to explain and answer questions about the recently released Tier 1 Draft Enviromental Impact Statement developed for the Illiana Corridor project.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available at http://www.illianacorridor.org . Hard copies are also available at local libraries within the study area and at state department of transportation offices.
That study examines three possible routes for the 50-mile long expressway running from Interstate 65 in Indiana to Interstate 55 in Illinois.
One proposed route starts at Interstate 65 just south of 153rd Avenue and runs between Lowell and Cedar Lake before heading almost directly west to Wilmington, Ill., where it would join Interstate 55. Just last month, a study team of consultants again identified that route as their recommended route.
A second proposed route starts at the same point on I-65 but cuts north of the proposed airport site at Peotone, rather than south of it. That alternative would join I-55 farther to the north, near Channahon, Ill.
A third proposed route starts farther south on I-65, just south of 205th Avenue. It heads northwest and joins up with the first proposed route running almost due west to Wilmington, Ill.
With all three alternatives, expressway interchanges in Indiana would be located at I-65, Ind. 55 and U.S. 41. In Illinois interchanges would be located at Ill. 1, Interstate 57, U.S. 45, Ill. 53, and Ill. 55 and possibly U.S. 52.
A continuous PowerPoint presentation on the Illiana Corridor Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement will run throughout the three hours of the hearing. People can provide verbal or written comments to a court reporter that will become part of the official record.
INDOT and IDOT officials hope to obtain a final record of decision from the federal government on the proposed expressway early next year. After that, design work and land acquisition could begin.