EDITORIAL: Build momentum for Illiana Expressway

2012-11-11T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Build momentum for Illiana Expressway nwitimes.com
November 11, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Now that the Illiana Expressway options have been narrowed to a single route, the federal government should add its blessing soon.

The B3 route, which connects Interstates 65 and 55, runs just south of 153rd Avenue and heads due west, between Cedar Lake and Lowell, south of Peotone, and just south of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

The Indiana and Illinois transportation agencies, following last month's Illiana Corridor Planning Group recommendation, submitted a "preferred corridor report" to the appropriate federal agencies.

With the federal approval, expected as early as the end of the year, must come a focus on not just determining the exact path of the road but also working on details like where interchanges should be and how emergency services would be affected.

Emergency response issues are among the Lowell Town Council's biggest concerns, Councilman Craig Earley said.

"People want things to move along so they can get to know what specific areas will be affected" said Jim Pinkerton, an Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman. "The more specific we can get, that will provide more clarity for the public."

People in that area need to know how they might be affected -- everything from whether their land will be cut off by the new road to whether and how they will reap economic benefits from it.

With this road expected to be built as a public-private partnership, with a private company building the road in exchange for the right to collect tolls on it, the private company's obligations to the local communities need to be discussed as well.

Plenty of public hearings are essential for providing necessary input into this planning process.

This reliever route, to siphon traffic off U.S. 30 and the Borman Expressway, is needed. Anyone who drives on either of those two highways knows how busy they can get.

The Illiana Expressway has been a long time coming. Now that the process has finally begun, keep it moving. 

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