The study area is located in southern Will County and northern Kankakee County in Illinois and southern Lake County in Indiana. The area is generally located between I-65 on the east, I-55 on the west and bordered by US 30 to the north and northern Kankakee County to the south.
The planning process will be conducted in two parts or Tiers. Tier One will involve defining transportation needs, developing alternatives, and determining a preferred plan at a concept level of detail, as well as sections of the project that could be pursued independently. Tier Two includes detailed engineering and environmental studies for the preferred plan. Extensive stakeholder involvement will be a key feature of the overall planning process.
The study will follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. NEPA is a federal law that requires federally funded projects to evaluate a range of alternatives - including doing nothing, known as “No Build” - and the impacts of those alternatives on the environment. It also requires agencies proposing a project to consider input from the public before making a final recommendation.
The Tier One EIS study was initiated in April 2011 and will be completed within 24 months. Tier Two EIS studies may take an additional 24-36 months.
The study was initiated in April 2011, so we are just in the beginning stages of the Tier One EIS Study. As part of our initial work we are meeting with stakeholders to beginning our scoping process (gathering data, identifying study issues/concerns and goals of the project) with environmental agencies and stakeholders within the study area.
The Illiana study is jointly sponsored by IDOT and INDOT. As part of the public outreach, the project team will seek input from a broad range of stakeholders, including area residents, communities, counties, townships, agencies, elected officials, and interested groups.
IDOT is managing the consulting contracts and overall study. INDOT is financially participating in the study and will provide leadership for the Indiana portion of the study area. IDOT and INDOT will act as joint lead agencies with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for preparation of the EIS. AECOM is the selected Project Management consultant and is an extension of IDOT. A consultant team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) will conduct the Illiana Corridor Study for IDOT and INDOT.
The public involvement framework is based upon IDOT and INDOT’s Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) policy. Public involvement is a key component of CSS and is strongly encouraged during the study. Plans are underway to provide many opportunities for the public to provide input on their needs and potential solutions within the corridor. Forums include corridor planning and a technical task force group, public meetings, and small group meetings. Through these and other means, IDOT and INDOT will proactively seek stakeholder input and partnerships early and often to develop a consensus on solutions. Up-to-date information and a way to comment are available on the project website at www.illianacorridor.org.
There is currently no funding for constructing the project—only Phase I studies (Tier One and Tier Two EIS studies) are funded at this time. However, as part of the planning process, we will explore various ways to pay for the project. One option that will be explored in detail will be public private partnerships, or “P3”, which allows for private financing to be used to construct the project.
A “P3” is a situation in which private investor provides financing to build a project, based upon a set of terms and conditions set forth by the public agency (i.e., IDOT or INDOT). In many cases, the project may still require some level of public financing (i.e., State or Federal funds). The terms of and conditions of a P3 agreement can vary.
Phase I (Tier One and Tier Two EISs) may take up to four years to complete and Phase II (Final Design and Construction Plans) typically takes approximately two years. However, at this time only Phase I is funded.
Stakeholders for a project include any person or organization which has a direct stake in the project being considered. This can be anything from a small group of residents and businesses affected by the redesign of a rural intersection to thousands of individuals when a major roadway or transit extension is being built. Stakeholders can include residents and landowners near a project, advocates for policy, community and historic interests, elected officials, government agencies, and many others.
You can direct questions and comments to us via this website. Written correspondence can be sent directly to Illinois Department of Transportation-Region One/District 1, Kesti Susinskas, 201 W. Center Court, Schaumburg, Illinois 60196
Given its central location in the nation, the northwest Indiana and northeastern Illinois region is essentially the crossroads of America and is therefore heavily utilized by three sectors of travel: roadways, rail, and air. Due to this, our region is a national link to transportation and commerce which creates heavy use of our highways. In this role as a commerce hub, the region is seeing the emergence of large inland ports for intermodal transfer and logistics. The distribution in and out of these ports is spread across the region’s highways and local roads.
The region is also experiencing substantial growth in population and employment. Population in the Illiana study area is projected to grow by 175% and employment will increase 225%, creating high growth in work trips in the study area and on regional roads.
As these travel demands increase, the existing transportation network is unable to support the demand. Based on technical analysis, including growth trends, current and projected traffic, and stakeholder input, the three needs to be addressed by the project are improving regional mobility, alleviate local system congestion and improve local system mobility, and providing efficient movement of freight in the Study Area.
The 2,000 foot corridor defines the corridor planning boundary of a more detailed study and analysis that is needed to identify and refine a single corridor that will have the minimum property impacts and address transportation needs. After Tier One is completed and a single corridor is selected, a narrower working alignment of approximately 400 foot wide will be refined as a conceptual right-of-way footprint as part of Tier Two studies.
Once a final corridor is identified and refined, we will know properties that will need to be acquired to construct the Illiana. This means that if a property is located within one of the three current 2,000 foot wide corridors, that as a single corridor is identified and narrowed to 400 feet in width, it is possible that a property could be removed from the final project footprint.
At this stage of our study, we cannot identify specific and/or detailed limits of the property impacts that the proposed Illiana Corridor will have. Subsequent to final approval of a recommended corridor, we will begin the more detailed study and analysis. Land acquisition will only occur if funds are available. When funding is secured, contacting landowners will be a high priority for the Illiana project.
We recognize that 2,000 feet is a wide area that impacts properties along the route; however, the 2,000 feet defines a study area of a manageable size, ensuring that a high level of detailed analysis will result in a proposed corridor and alignment that avoids as many property and impact concerns as is feasible. We anticipate these efforts to begin in 2012 and continue through summer 2014. As this process continues, more specific right-of-way limits will be determined and more detailed acquisition procedures can be provided to affected property owners.
The concept of an Illiana Expressway took root in the late 1990s as a local/regional movement to create a new corridor for the mobility of freight and commercial traffic. This grass roots effort culminated in June 2010 with an agreement between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding, based on legislation in both states that establishes a two-state partnership for planning a potential new transportation linkage serving northwest Indiana, northeastern Illinois, and regional travel which is consistent with regional planning efforts in both states. As stated above, tremendous benefits for both Indiana and Illinois are gained by an improved transportation system in this area.
First, it’s important to note that any land acquisition for new road construction undertaken by IDOT and INDOT requires a planning process and property owner outreach. The priority of both state DOT’s is to work with the property owners to minimize impacts of all projects. The land acquisition process begins with plat of highway, an independent appraisal, an offer, and a period of negotiations. If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter is referred to the courts under the eminent domain laws of what is known as “condemnation”. Condemnation is always considered to be a “last resort” in the property acquisition process for road projects. Before it can acquire property for a project, the DOT’s must show a need for the property and propose fair market compensation to the property owner for needed property. The property owner can agree to settle or can state a case for increased compensation or for remedies of other concerns such as potential drainage problems on private land as a result of the acquisition and project plan. Ultimately, the court decides the dispensation of the case, including final compensation to go to the property owner.
Property owners determined to be impacted by the Illiana Corridor have the right to receive just compensation if acquisition of their property is required for public roadway projects. Just compensation is the fair market value of the property and damages (loss of value) to the remainder of the property if only a portion of the property is required. If the acquisition requires relocation, the property owner may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable and necessary moving expenses and/or supplemental housing payments. Specific property owners will be contacted as soon as more detailed information will be available.
A common misconception is that Quick Take allows local governments to seize private land for public projects without fully compensating property owners or honoring owners’ legal rights. This is not accurate; both eminent domain legal proceedings – condemnation and condemnation with the use of Quick Take authority – protect the full rights of property owners. IDOT has Quick Take authority on all highway projects, and the same basic land acquisition process would take place (independent appraisals, negotiations, relocation assistance, etc…). Quick Take also allows for quicker preliminary just compensation payments to property owners and the ability of the state to acquire the needed property and move forward with the project in a timely fashion. It is important to note that Quick Take can only be used if IDOT can prove the immediate need for the property in question. This immediate need is dependent on the actual construction of the roadway facility.
Many property values nationwide have recently decreased due to the economy; however the Illiana project schedule and availability of land acquisition funds are independent of the market. By law, properties must be appraised at their current value.
Since kicking off the study in late spring 2011, the project team has conducted more than 100 project meetings, including local community briefings and individual meetings with property owners, along with Open House Public Meetings, and newsletters. As the preferred corridor(s) becomes known and is further refined through the remainder of the Tier 1 and throughout the Tier 2 study process, property owners will be contacted on a regular basis with updates and notification of landowner meeting dates. This close coordination will continue for the duration of the project. For more information regarding your legal rights visit the information center on the project website (www.IllianaCorridor.org), or call the landowner information center at (1-855-455-4650).
IDOT and INDOT are both in conformance with the Federal Highway Administration policies and procedures with their adopted noise policies. The detailed Traffic Noise studies, including identification of traffic noise impact and consideration of noise abatement, will be performed in the Tier 2 detailed engineering studies. The noise policies of both states consider both the absolute noise level and the change in noise level when determining eligibility for noise abatement treatments. More detailed information about IDOT and INDOT’s noise policies and guidelines can be found at the following website links: