Federal highway officials OK plans for Illiana Expressway

The Federal Highway Administration has approved plans for a 47-mile expressway between Illinois and Indiana.

Illinois and Indiana officials announced Thursday that the Illiana Expressway can now move to the implementation phase. That will mean looking for public-private partnerships to construct, maintain and operate the $1.5 billion project.

The controversial expressway would give cars and trucks an east-west link between Interstate 65 in Indiana and Interstate 55 in Illinois.

Supporters say it will relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 80 south of Chicago and create much-needed jobs.

Critics say the project is unnecessary and warn taxpayers could be on the hook if toll revenue falls short. Opponents are fighting it, and a lawsuit is pending.

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