Indiana continues to pursue Illiana Expressway proposal

The Indiana Department of Transportation has agreed to pay to make changes to an environmental impact statement to try to revive the proposed Illiana Expressway toll road project linking northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.

INDOT submitted a document April 25 in U.S. District Court in Chicago stating it had reached an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to pay for the technical work to comply with the court's order on the $1.5 billion expressway.

A judge ruled last year that the federal government's approval of the 47-mile highway was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated U.S. environmental law.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield told The Times of Munster that the agency estimates it will cost less than $150,000 to revise the document. IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell said Illinois is not pursuing the project.

Indiana and Illinois signed an agreement in early 2014 stating the road between Interstate 65 near Lowell in northwest Indiana and I-55 near Wilmington, Illinois, 60 miles south of Chicago, would be reserved for vehicles using electronic toll devices with no option for those wanting to pay cash. The road would be a four-lane highway that could later be expanded to six lanes.

Indiana was supposed to pay $80 million to $110 million for the project with Illinois agreeing to pay at least $250 million. The rest of the $1.51 billion for the project was expected to come from private investors.


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