The planned Illiana Corridor has reached a key milestone. The Federal Highway Administration has published final results of its Tier Two Environmental Impact Statement, recommending the roadway between I-65 near Lowell and I-55 in Illinois move forward. In May, the states signed a public-private development agreement. The Illinois-based Environmental Law & Policy Center filed a lawsuit in April aimed at putting an end to the proposed roadway.
September 29, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. and SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 26, 2014) – On September 26, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published the Illiana Corridor Tier Two Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which recommends a new 50-mile toll road that will connect Interstate 55 near Wilmington, Illinois, with Interstate 65 near Lowell, Indiana. The report's recommendation comes after nearly four years of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) working comprehensively with stakeholders throughout the region.
With today's release of the Final EIS, the FHWA will consider any additional comments received during a 30-day public review period, and prepare a document called the Record of Decision which summarizes the final project decision. The Record of Decision is anticipated later this year.
The Final EIS describes the process through which the project was developed, including the identification of transportation needs, consideration of dozens of alternatives, and a comprehensive analysis of the potential effects on environmental resources, such as wetlands, wildlife, cultural resources, air quality, and noise. The potential effects on future traffic operations caused by all of the proposed alternatives, including the no-action alternative, are outlined as well.
The development of the Tier Two Final EIS included an extraordinary amount of stakeholder outreach and coordination, including five public meetings, two public hearings and over 300 small group meetings with a variety of project stakeholders.
Illinois and Indiana have long served as the hub of American transportation and commerce. The Illiana will be an invaluable regional asset for the Midwest, supporting the efficient distribution of goods and services across the nation, as well as promoting job growth and economic development.
The project will improve regional mobility, and create thousands of short-term and long-term jobs, amounting to over a billion dollars in wages over a 30-year period. It will serve as a major trucking corridor and boost the region's long-term economic output by nearly $4 billion.
Source: Illinois Department of Transportation and Indiana Department of Transportation