Illiana Expressway foes to attend

2013-04-17T17:06:00Z 2013-04-17T23:52:15Z Illiana Expressway foes to attendMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent
April 17, 2013 5:06 pm  • 

LOWELL | The No Illiana 4 Us group plans to bring its handout maps tonight  when bistate planners of the Illiana Corridor lay out theirs during a public meeting to examine specifics of the expressway that would run between Cedar Lake and Lowell.

It's all part of a full-court press being exerted by the opposition group to put the brakes on the road project.

In recent weeks, No Illiana 4 Us has gained momentum as its membership increases and its letter writing campaign grows.

Harold Mussman, the West Creek Township trustee and a leader in the opposition movement in Indiana, sent David Davis, the governor's liaison to the Indiana Department of Transportation, an email Tuesday.

"We have valid points we want to present that have been ignored or spun differently by the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Indiana Department of Transportation and Parsons Brinkerhoff (planners). That shows a total lack of concern and respect for our community."

The group maintains the intended closure of certain north/south roads would jeopardize the safety of residents needing ambulance and first responder services. There also would be serious issues created for the school system and its bus routes.

"Our EMS services are already stretched to the breaking point. ... We need to stress we have a volunteer fire department. Our ambulance service is a not-for-profit service paid for by taxpaying residents and landowners," Mussman said.

Mussman said planners need to imagine a scenario in which there is a tanker truck on fire on the Illiana and a local resident suffering a heart attack 12 miles from the fire site. Where would the EMTs go? Who will live or who will die is the question, he asked.

Environmental concerns are being risen as well.

The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club is fighting the "super highway" placement next to Illinois' only national grassland, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Pat Mussman of No Illiana 4 Us said the Indiana chapter of the Sierra Club has expressed interest as well and the group is working with an environmental attorney.

No Illiana 4 Us is mad eup of residents from mostly Will County in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana opposing the expressway. Residents in Porter County against the Illiana Expressway have been approached to join them.

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