PEOTONE | For Peggy Marchionda, Tuesday's joint Illinois/Indiana forum about the proposed Illiana Expressway was about figuring out the future course of her life.
“I want to learn if they’re going to take (my) house away from me, or what,” the Peotone resident said. Marchionda believes some of the routes under consideration appear to pass through her property.
“I want to know what my options are,” Marchionda said. “I also want to know how soon all this would happen.”
Officials with the Illinois and Indiana transportation departments said prior to the forum determining properties needed for the project is still a couple years away.
There are three corridors under consideration for a route that would go from Interstate 65 in southern Lake County directly to Interstate 55 in Will County. It is hoped that will reduce the number of motorists who use Interstate 80.
Steven Schilke, a program manager for the Illinois transportation department, said officials will pick the corridor sometime in September or October. Then, he said, they will spend the rest of this year and much of 2013 fine-tuning the route to determine where exactly the road should be built.
Once that occurs, then would begin an 18- to 24-month process during which land would be purchased in Illinois and Indiana.
Greg Kicinski, director of project management for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said officials from both states were listening to the comments of people who spoke at the public hearing to better determine a final route.
Comments made by people who testified at the hearing held at Peotone High School, along with a hearing to be held today at Lowell Middle School, will be incorporated into a report being put together, along with written comments submitted to either state’s transportation department by Aug. 29.
Crete village President Michael Einhorn submitted written testimony, but admitted his enthusiasm for the project has waned because he thinks all the corridors are too far south.
Einhorn said he he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” by the project.
“We’ve always had good local support, the trouble has always been higher on the (political) food chain,” he said.
Trying to take advantage of that fact was Marilyn Dockstader of Lowell, who along with her husband and others oppose any construction are coordinating a petition drive to stop the project.
“Only the political people want this,” Dockstader said. “It would be detrimental to our homes, farms, everything about our way of life.”