Officials offer 'rough draft' at Illiana Corridor meeting

2013-04-16T21:57:00Z 2013-04-17T10:30:06Z Officials offer 'rough draft' at Illiana Corridor meetingBy David P. Funk Times Correspondent
April 16, 2013 9:57 pm  • 

PEOTONE | Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation discussed the second tier of the proposed Illiana Corridor at the first of two schedule public open houses Tuesday at Peotone High School.

The meeting was scheduled to inform the public of the process involved with the second tier of a study to assess the proposed highway that would stretch from Interstate 65 in Indiana to Interstate 55 in Illinois.

Several dozen residents came out and some seemed dissatisfied with answers to their questions. Illinois Department of Transportation Project Manager Steve Schilke answered questions submitted on cards, while INDOT representative Jim Earl looked on.

"The purpose of tonight's meeting is really to give a rough draft of what we've been up to since (our last meeting)," Schilke said. "Tonight, I don't have a lot of answer and I don't want a lot of answers because I want the flexibility to move that road, move those interchange locations if there are other interchange locations that need studying, move those overpass and underpass locations."

Before and after the questions-and-answer session, those in attendance were able to view diagrams of potential interchange locations and designs, along with maps of the chosen corridor path, and speak with representatives of IDOT and INDOT.

The projected cost of the highway, Schilke said, is about $1.3 billion and the group is in the beginning stages of securing funding through a public-private partnership.

"Around the country, you see more and more public-private partnerships," Schilke said. "We're trying to get private equity injected into the state system."

The group also is looking into operating the expressway as a toll road to recoup the cost of construction, but Schilke said that decision is not yet final. International investors also are a possibility.

The next meeting will be Thursday at Lowell Middle School. Another public meeting is tentatively set for early summer, with a public hearing following in fall.

A final decision on the expressway is expected in spring 2014.

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