A study was initiated in 1999 due to the growing development pressures and congestion and the recognized need for an additional facility for north-south travel through the region. The study focused on investigating the merits of corridor protection from I-80 to I-88. Three broad corridors were identified, based on study of existing and planned homes, floodways and wetlands, parks and preserves, Illinois Natural Area Sites, and threatened and endangered species locations. The Central Corridor, connecting I-80 west of Minooka to I-88 north of Kaneville, was presented by IDOT as the preferred corridor at a public hearing in December 2001. Following the public comment period, revisions were made to the map, and a Record of Hearing approving the map under the state’s
Corridor Protection statute was signed by the Secretary of Transportation in July 2002.
In late 2002, a new study, the Prairie Parkway Preliminary Engineering Study, was begun to determine the transportation needs of a six-county area and to investigate whether additional improvements were needed to address the area’s transportation to the year 2030. The study was not bound by the results of the previous Corridor Protection, and it was established that all, part, or none of the recorded corridor might be used as part of a comprehensive solution. An extended program of public outreach was initiated, involving citizens, interest groups, elected officials, state and federal agencies, and the staffs of local municipalities and counties.
In March 2005, the Purpose and Need of the project was concurred with by state and federal resource agencies: to improve north-south regional mobility, to address local system deficiencies, to improve access from the study area to regional jobs, and to improve safety.
A broad range of alternatives was developed and presented to the public in May 2005, consisting of widening existing roads, new freeways, increased public transit and traffic management techniques, and combinations of these alternatives. In October 2005, two “build” alternatives were selected for detailed environmental and engineering study, each consisting of a new freeway between I-80 and I-88. Also included with these alternatives was the improvement of IL 47 from I-80 to Caton Farm Road, in order to complete the connection of IL 47 from I-80 to I-88 along with other planned projects.
The preferred alternative, B5 Freeway with IL 47 improvements, was announced by the Department in June 2007. A Record of Decision, approving the preferred alternative in a Final Environmental Impact Statement, is expected by the end of 2007 or early 2008.
Because the preferred alternative follows less than half of the Corridor Protection alignment recorded in 2002, the Department elected to amend the Corridor Protection to reflect the B5 freeway component of the preferred alternative. Public Hearings were held in July 2007 to present the amended Corridor Protection Map to the public, and to consider any comments in finalizing the new map. Following this process, the new map, which supersedes the Corridor Protection Map recorded in 2002, was approved in a Record of Hearing by the Secretary of Transportation on November
8, 2007. Notices were sent to property owners in both the old 2002 and the new 2007 corridors, advising them of their property’s current status under the new map. The new map was also filed with the Recorder of Deeds in each of the three affected counties.
Record of Hearing with Corridor Protection maps