ILLINOIS PROPOSES THREE ROUTES FOR PEORIA-CHICAGO HIGHWAY

ILLINOIS PROPOSES THREE ROUTES FOR PEORIA-CHICAGO HIGHWAY

Three routes have been selected for a Peoria-to-Chicago highway and $2 million has been approved to begin the next phase of engineering, Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar announced Thursday.

That component will include work on the eastern connection - the ring road around Peoria - from Illinois 6 to Interstate 474 west of Morton, which will anchor the three possible corridors."The Department of Transportation will be selecting an engineering consultant in October for the work on the ring road," Mr. Edgar said.

Afterward it will take approximately eight to 12 months to select a corridor and an additional 12 months to refine the road's alignment.

Officials believe traveling to Chicago-bound expressways from Peoria is inefficient because it involves traveling southeast to Bloomington-Normal on Interstate 74 or meandering down two-lane rural highways.

A $2 million study chose the three routes after exploring the efficiency and economic benefits of five routes that could be used to directly connect Peoria to a Chicago-bound interstate.

One such route would be a northeast corridor to Interstate 55 from Washington to Pontiac along Illinois Route 116.

The second would run due east from Washington to Chenoa along U.S. Route 24 and link up with Interstate 55.

The third would run north of Peoria roughly parallel to the Illinois River west of Illinois Route 29. It would merge near Oglesby with Interstate 39, which crosses Interstate 80.