Indianapolis— The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have signed an agreement to study potential locations for a new interstate-quality highway connecting Interstate 57 in Illinois to I-94 in Indiana. The proposed highway, known as the Illiana Expressway, would be publicly owned but built with private funds, not tax dollars, and operated under contract as a toll road. The highway would help relieve increasing traffic congestion in northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area.
After selecting an engineering firm for the project, engineers will perform a full-scale environmental impact analysis and identify a final highway alignment. The bi-state study, estimated to cost between $5 million and $10 million, is expected to take no more than three years to complete. INDOT will be the lead agency, and the two states will share the cost of the study. State and federal approval are needed before construction could begin.
Addressing the movement of freight will be a significant factor in the study. Rail yards in the Chicagoland area feed a large number of trucks using the current highway system. In Indiana, the Borman Expressway (I-80/94) is the state's second busiest highway and half of the traffic is semi-trucks.
The Illiana Expressway would be approximately 63 miles, with 50 of that in Indiana. Truck-only lanes will be evaluated along with the latest technology to facilitate the efficient movement of traffic and freight.