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Lawmakers OK Plan For Illiana Expressway

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois lawmakers have fast-tracked a plan to relieve traffic congestion on Chicago area and northwest Indiana interstates.

The Illiana Expressway was planned to divert traffic between Illinois and Indiana away from Interstate 80.

Lawmakers have approved “quick take” authorization, which allows the state to buy land quickly for fair market value. The governor is expected to sign the legislation

The expressway would connect Interstate 55 in Will County to Interstate 65 in Lake County, Indiana.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) said the 50 mile interstate is important for his hometown.

“Anytime there’s an incident on I-80, Lincoln Highway, which runs right through the town I live in, all the trucks get off 80 (onto Lincoln Highway) and it’s bumper to bumper for miles,” he said.

DeLuca said the Illinois Department of Transportation plans to set up individual meetings with all affected Illinois landowners before they purchase.

“IDOT will set up individual meetings with every single land owner, and discuss with them the process, and also discuss with them the best way the route can go through their property and impact them the least,” DeLuca said.

He said the impact could be minimal, as the road’s current trajectory requires a 2,000 foot width – but will eventually settle at 400 feet.