The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) completed the first tier of the Illiana Corridor study project in January 2013 with approval of the Record of Decision (ROD), advancing one corridor and a no-build alternative into the second tier of the study project. The recommended corridor, known as “B3,” extends from I-55 near Wilmington, Illinois, 46.8 miles east to I-65 near Cedar Lake, Indiana, and was identified as the selected preferred corridor alternative during the first tier of the planning process.
Previous studies have indicated possible benefits for an east-west transportation corridor extending from I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana. These include providing an alternate route for motorists traveling the I-90/94 corridor, relieving traffic on the I-80 Borman/Kingery Expressway and U.S. 30, serving as a bypass for trucks around the congested metropolitan highways, providing access to one of the largest “inland port” intermodal freight areas in the U.S. and the proposed South Suburban Airport, supporting economic development in this area, and the potential for substantial job creation. Will County, IL was one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, adding 175,000 residents and increasing demand for additional transportation options.
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.