(Updated April 2016) The next phase of study to examine the feasibility of the IL Route 53 expansion project is moving forward. The "Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)" approved by the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board in December will be conducted in two tiers and will take approximately four years to complete. (View December News Release) An EIS will help answer many of the questions about what kind of road, where it would be built, or if any road should be built. Learn more. The EIS process will also include a robust public information and engagement program. The EIS is being funded by the Illinois Tollway, and conducted in partnership with the Tollway, Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
- Considered since the 1960's, it never advanced due to lack of consensus. However, over the years, the Illinois Department of Transportation has acquired about two-thirds of the needed right of way.
- In April 2009, 75% of Lake County voters supported the IL Route 53 extension in an advisory referendum. In 2011, a Blue Ribbon Advisory Council, made up of a broad group of government, business and environmental leaders, reached consensus on a plan that strikes a balance between improving mobility and access, while minimizing negative environmental and long-term impacts from development. In December 2015, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- As part of the Feasibility Study, a finance committee - made up of elected officials from the corridor, along with business and environmental stakeholders - examined various funding strategies and recommended a set of options to consider. CMAP also led a cooperative planning effort with the corridor communities to develop a Corridor Land Use Plan that integrates land use and transportation for improved mobility, quality of life, natural resource protection, and sustainable economic development.
Lake County DOT analyzes population growth and transportation capacity and identifies where road improvements will be needed in its 2040 Transportation Plan. Traffic studies show (without the IL Route 53 extension) we would need to widen 56 miles of arterial roads and build 14.6 miles of new roads to accommodate growth. This would result in a bigger impact, and a higher cost compared to the proposed IL Route 53.
The Advisory Council's proposed plan integrates land use, transportation, economic development, and open space. It recommends an open space system that includes the protection and restoration of conservation lands and enhanced open space protection strategies to reconnect fragmented ecosystems, as well as innovative stormwater management techniques to minimize impacts.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be completed that conforms with the Route 53 consensus plan that was developed with environmental stakeholders at the table. It calls for specific environmental performance requirements that would make this project the most environmentally and context sensitive roadway plan that we’ve ever seen in the area, and among the most innovative context-sensitive highways in the U.S. The EIS will also include a robust public information and engagement program including multiple meetings and opportunities for public input.
What is an EIS?
Current Route 98 minutes
New Route 68 minutes
By reducing congestion and saving commuting time, the new road will unlock economic development - which means more jobs. Also, new businesses help diversify the tax base and reduce the burden on property taxpayers, allowing for more money to go to local schools.
25,500 new residential units
Estimated cost - $2.3 billion - $2.65 billion
Funding gap: $1.36 - $1.91 billion
The Environmental Restoration and Stewardship Fund would provide financial support for the protection and enhancement of the natural resources, including agricultural lands and water bodies, within two miles of the roadway. The fund will also support efforts to protect and restore at least 750 acres of land, and remediate ecological health issues that may arise within the corridor.
*Require legislative approval