Gateway Connector

Thank you for visiting IDOT’s Gateway Connector project website. If this is your first time to this site, we invite you to take a few minutes to learn about the project, the recently completed Corridor Protection Study, and future project phases. All information on this page is the most current information available.

Although the Corridor Protection Study phase of the Gateway Connector project has concluded, your feedback remains important to IDOT now and as the project moves into the Location and Environmental Study (Phase I).

Maps showing the Preferred Corridor and affected property as presented at the November 2004 Public Hearings can be viewed under the Study Details tab.

Project Update - December 2014

Illinois Statute 605 ILCS 5/4-510 requires a public hearing on a protected corridor when no more than 10 years have elapsed since the original corridor was established.  The original corridor was recorded in March 2005.

In accordance with this requirement, IDOT will hold public hearings on the following dates:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
4:00 to 7:00 pm
The Falls Reception and Conference Center
300 Admiral Weinel Blvd.
Columbia, IL 62236

Thursday, December 11, 2014
4:00 to 7:00 pm
The Regency Conference Center
400 Regency Park
O' Fallon, IL 62269

Both public hearings will be held in open house format.  There will be no formal presentations.  Attendees are invited to inspect maps and displays, discuss the project with IDOT representatives and our engineering consultant, and provide their comments.

There have been no revisions to the protected corridor itself, nor have any additional traffic, land use, socioeconomic or environmental studies or data been updated.  The corridor and related information that were shown at the 2004 public hearing are being presented at the public hearings.

Note: IDOT projects typically have three distinct phases. Phase I (or the project Study) consists of developing the project scope, environmental studies and preliminary design of a project. Phase II (Design) consists of refining the design to develop contract plans and land acquisition. Phase III (Construction) consists of the actual construction of the project.

 

History

The Illinois Route 158 Outer Belt Feasibility Study (1999-2001) determined the need for a new transportation corridor to serve the Metro East. The study examined existing and future transportation demand, land use, and environmental issues in the potential corridor. Public meetings and interaction with local officials and other stakeholders played an important role in the study.

The Feasibility Study initially looked at a very broad study area that encompassed parts of Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe counties. After technical and environmental evaluation, and input from stakeholders and the public, the study area was narrowed resulting in a “Recommended Study Corridor.”

Roughly 37 miles long and one to two miles wide, this final study area extended from the I-55/70 - U.S. 40 interchange near Troy in Madison County, south and west through St. Clair County, to I-255 near Columbia in Monroe County. Several conceptual options for connecting to I-55/70 and I-255 were created as well, with the expectation that future studies and design would be responsible for identifying the best location for these connections.

Data evaluated during the Feasibility Study showed that the three counties in the study area could expect to see population and employment increases of up to 25% by 2020 (based on 1996 figures). Traffic volume was projected to increase by at least 25% as well.

The data used for the Feasibility Study (and the subsequent Corridor Protection Study) was developed and adopted by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the St. Louis region. East-West Gateway is vested by the federal government and the states with legal authority and responsibility for developing long- and short-range transportation plans for the region.

The Corridor Protection Study

In light of the Feasibility Study’s findings, IDOT recognized that if growth and development in the region continued at the current pace, the demands placed on existing transportation facilities would intensify. As a result, travel times and congestion would increase, existing facilities would require more maintenance, and, most importantly, the safety of the motoring public would be compromised. This population and traffic growth could be expected to continue well into the future, with or without a new corridor.

IDOT therefore initiated the Gateway Connector Corridor Protection Study in 2003 in order to:

  • Identify a future corridor that could accommodate many different kinds of transportation improvements
  • Protect a future corridor now to minimize impacts to people and the environment later on
  • Reduce the cost to Illinois residents of improvements or a new facility in the corridor

To determine the best location for a new corridor, the study team:

  • Analyzed the most recent traffic, land use, and population data and projections from East-West Gateway Council of Governments
  • Inventoried, mapped, and quantified known environmental constraints and land use issues
  • Involved residents, civic leaders, communities, and groups through extensive public outreach
    and feedback opportunities
  • Developed and evaluated numerous corridor alternatives by measuring potential impacts, displacements,
    and engineering issues and incorporating public input

The Corridor Protection Study found that most of the communities in the study area grew at very robust rates from 1980-2000. Some examples of this include: Shiloh, 631% increase; Troy, 126% increase; Columbia, 85% increase; and O’Fallon, 79% increase. Belleville’s population declined about 1% over this period. Many areas outside the study area experienced population declines during the same period, such as East Carondelet, Brooklyn, Venice, and East St. Louis.

East-West Gateway projections for the 2000-2025 period show 10% to 29% population increases in analysis areas traversed by the Gateway Connector corridor. Individual communities are projecting even greater growth: for 2000-2020, O’Fallon expects a 70-79% increase and Columbia anticipates a 37% increase.

The study's traffic projections showed that (if a roadway facility is placed in the corridor) 15,000 to 48,000 vehicles could use the corridor each day. This is not "new" traffic but represents vehicles being "removed" from existing routes, thereby reducing congestion on existing roadways. These projections also show that most people who would use the corridor would be making local trips rather than motorists traveling straight through the corridor.

The 400-foot wide alternative selected in the study represents a corridor that best meets the future transportation needs of the study area while minimizing impacts to the natural and human environments. Its selection was based on an integrated and balanced consideration of engineering, traffic, socioeconomic and natural resource factors and was found to be a route that has a high degree of engineering feasibility, effectively avoids unique and sensitive resources, and provides the best service to the growing communities.

The Corridor Protection Study did not recommend, specify, or rule out any improvements or facility types that could be located within the corridor. Although the corridor’s width - 400 feet - is wide enough to accommodate a “high type” transportation facility, like a multi-lane limited access roadway, such decisions were not made as a result of the Corridor Protection Study. Corridor protection does not mean it has already been determined that an entirely new roadway facility is in fact needed.

Like the Feasibility Study, the Corridor Protection Study was a long-range transportation planning study to help identify a corridor for future transportation needs in the region. These studies were not conducted to solve immediate problems on area roadways.

What is Corridor Protection?

Corridor protection is a legal process found in Statute 605 ILCS 5/4-510 of the Illinois Highway Code. This statute was first enacted by the state’s General Assembly in 1967. The process is a planning tool that helps IDOT, in conjunction with local communities and individuals, prepare for expected future transportation needs in a given area. Corridor protection is especially beneficial in areas experiencing tremendous growth, such as the communities in the Gateway Connector study area. Simply put, corridor protection:

  • Minimizes residential and commercial displacements and environmental impacts
  • Benefits communities by incorporating their long-range plans and needs
  • Establishes a corridor that could be used for a variety of transportation improvements

Corridor protection does not mean it has already been determined that a new roadway facility is the best use for the Gateway Connector corridor. The Phase I study (see “What’s Next?” below) will look at a variety of options - including the “No Build” option - to determine what transportation improvements could best handle the expected population and traffic growth.

Property owners within the protected corridor are not prohibited from using their property as they wish, nor is property “seized” as a result of corridor protection. If and when IDOT needs to acquire any property in the corridor, its value will be determined at the time of purchase by IDOT, not at the time the corridor was recorded. Property value is not “frozen” at the time of corridor protection.

The Gateway Connector corridor could be modified during future study phases. For example, the more detailed level of analysis in Phase I may identify significant environmental impacts, displacement issues, or engineering concerns. Public input will play an important role in this process as well. Any such modifications to the corridor would most likely be minor shifts (for example, to avoid a cemetery or historical site), and would not mean that entirely new corridor options would be created.

The text of the corridor protection statute can be found here, as well as on the General Assembly website.

What's Next?

Location and Environmental Study (“Phase I”).  This phase could take up to five years to complete and will include activities such as:

  • Evaluate potential environmental impacts and displacements
  • Assess deficiencies and strengths of existing transportation system
  • Conduct detailed traffic and land use studies
  • Evaluate a variety of transportation improvement options for the corridor (including the “No Build” option)
  • Recommend appropriate solutions for corridor and determine facility type
  • Coordinate with communities and public to identify access needs and issues
  • Conduct comprehensive public involvement and outreach

The Phase I study’s findings will be documented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967 (NEPA) for federally-funded projects that could have significant effects on the environment. It is likely that any future construction would require some federal funding.

The Phase I study will evaluate a variety of options - including the option of no improvements - in order to determine what transportation improvements could best handle the expected population and traffic growth. The findings of the Phase I study could indicate that improvements to existing routes, increased mass transit, or other alternatives would solve transportation needs better than a new roadway facility. However, if the Phase I study finds that a new facility would be the best solution, then a corridor will be in place for its use. Such a facility would not necessarily be a multi-lane, limited-access highway. It is possible that, depending on the traffic needs, a different facility type could be used in various locations.

There are no plans, timetable, or funding in place for any construction of a new regional transportation facility within the corridor. At a minimum, it could be 10 to 15 years before any construction takes place, assuming Phase I identifies a new facility to be the best solution to future transportation needs.

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Project Map

This map shows the GatewayConnector study area and the Preferred Corridor as presented at Public Hearings in November 2004. For easier viewing, the map has been divided into six separate sheets: Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3, Sheet 4, Sheet 5 and Sheet 6 . Click on the relevant sheet for a more detailed view. Links on each sheet will return you to this page or enable you to move directly to another sheet.

The 400-foot-wide Preferred Corridor is indicated on these maps by the green-shaded band.

Preliminary study corridors (also 400 feet wide) are indicated on these maps by parallel purple-shaded lines.

Click here to view the map legend in a pop-up window.

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This site will be updated periodically as the project progresses. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wishes to thank you for your support and patience.

Information on the public hearings scheduled for December 2014 is shown directly above . You are invited to attend, discuss the project, and provide your comments.

Click here for IDOT’s e-mail form to submit your comments or questions electronically.

Phone: 618-346-3161
Fax: 618-346-3202
TDD: 618-346-3396

Mail:
Gateway Connector
1102 Eastport Plaza Drive
Collinsville, IL 62234

Corridor Protection Report

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the Corridor Protection Final Report.

The Final Report is a large document. For your convenience, we have divided it into sections.

Click here to read Sections 1 (Introduction) and 2 (Purpose and Need)

Click here to read Section 3 (Alternative Development and Analysis)

Click here to read Section 4 (Environmental Conditions and Potential Consequences)

Click here to read Sections 5 (Agency Coordination), 6 (Public Involvement), 7 (Summary and Recommendations) and 8 (List of Preparers and Contributors)

Click here to read Appendix A - Section 4-510 Illinois Highway Code 605 ILCS 5/

Click here to read the text of Appendix B - Analysis and Evaluation of Alternative Corridors, Engineering and Environmental Review

Click here to view the maps for Appendix B

Appendix C - Public Involvement Log - Contact IDOT at 618-346-3161 to make an appointment to view.

Corridor Protection Statute

Illinois Compiled Statutes Roads and Bridges Illinois Highway Code (605 ILCS 5/4-510)

Sec. 4-510. The Department may establish presently the approximate locations and widths of rights of way for future additions to the State highway system to inform the public and prevent costly and conflicting development of the land involved.

The Department shall hold a public hearing whenever approximate locations and widths of rights of way for future highway additions are to be established. The hearing shall be held in or near the county or counties where the land to be used is located and notice of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the county or counties involved. Any interested person or his representative may be heard. The Department shall evaluate the testimony given at the hearing.

The Department shall make a survey and prepare a map showing the location and approximate widths of the rights of way needed for future additions to the highway system. The map shall show existing highways in the area involved and the property lines and owners of record of all land that will be needed for the future additions and all other pertinent information. Approval of the map with any changes resulting from the hearing shall be indicated in the record of the hearing and a notice of the approval and a copy of the map shall be filed in the office of the recorder for all counties in which the land needed for future additions is located.

Public notice of the approval and filing shall be given in newspapers of general circulation in all counties where the land is located and shall be served by registered mail within 60 days thereafter on all owners of record of the land needed for future additions. The Department may approve changes in the map from time to time. The changes shall be filed and notice given in the manner provided for an original map.

After the map is filed and notice thereof given to the owners of record of the land needed for future additions, no one shall incur development costs or place improvements in, upon or under the land involved nor rebuild, alter or add to any existing structure without first giving 60 days notice by registered mail to the Department. This prohibition shall not apply to any normal or emergency repairs to existing structures. The Department shall have 45 days after receipt of that notice to inform the owner of the Department's intention to acquire the land involved; after which, it shall have the additional time of 120 days to acquire such land by purchase or to initiate action to acquire said land through the exercise of the right of eminent domain. When the right of way is acquired by the State no damages shall be allowed for any construction, alteration or addition in violation of this Section unless the Department has failed to acquire the land by purchase or has abandoned an eminent domain proceeding initiated pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph.

Any right of way needed for additions to the highway system may be acquired at any time by the State or by the county or municipality in which it is located. The time of determination of the value of the property to be taken under this Section for additions to the highway system shall be the date of the actual taking, if the property is acquired by purchase, or the date of the filing of a complaint for condemnation, if the property is acquired through the exercise of the right of eminent domain, rather than the date when the map of the proposed right-of-way was filed of record. The rate of compensation to be paid for farm land acquired hereunder by the exercise of the right of eminent domain shall be in accordance with Section 4-501 of this Code. (Source: P.A. 91-357, eff. 7-29-99.)

Feasibility Study (1999-2001)

The Final Report is a large document. For your convenience, we have divided it into three sections.

  • Click here to read the Final Report
  • Click here to read Appendix A - Technical Documentation
  • Click here to read Appendix B - Public Involvement Documentation

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

IDOT is currently at the early stages of Phase I for this project. Although Phase III (construction) is part of the overall project development process, construction is not a foregone conclusion.

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