Illiana Expressway moves forward

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Illiana Expressway moves forward

Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee has approved the US$1.5 billion project to connect northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, the Illiana Expressway PPP project.

The approval came during a meeting in Chicago of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee. The group gathered for what would normally have been a routine vote on updates to the region's long-term infrastructure and land use plan, known as GO TO 2040.

But opponents of the Illiana took the opportunity to put forward a motion calling for the update to be approved without the expressway. It failed in an 8-10 vote. A separate vote to approve the updates, with the Illiana, passed.

The project's inclusion in the GO TO 2040 plan was needed to unlock federal funding.

The project is divided in the Illinois segment and the Indiana segment. The announcement 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 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 late September we reported that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) had published the Illiana Corridor Tier Two Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

In mid March 2014 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 January 2014 IDOT announced the receipt of Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from five teams to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the Illinois portion of the Illiana.

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