MegaProject 320: EIS released for Illiana Expressway P3 project
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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has 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 project is divided in the Illinois segment and the Indiana segment. The report's recommendation comes after nearly four years after the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) started to work comprehensively with stakeholders throughout the region.
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.
The Illiana Corridor is a proposed 50-mile access controlled highway that extends from I-55 in Illinois on the west to I-65 in Indiana on the east. The corridor is located in Will County in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana. IDOT and the IFA/INDOT plan to begin construction on the Illiana in the spring of 2015.
In mid March the Illiana Corridor had been declared eligible to apply for a low-cost federal loan, a TIFIA loan, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In early May INDOT selected four finalists out of the six teams that responded to a Request for Qualification to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Indiana portion of the Illiana Corridor and I-65 added capacity projects.