Illiana proposal surprises, upsets Channahon officials
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News June 4, 2012 5:11PM
A truck drives on Bluff Road over I-55 in Channahon, IL on Monday June 4, 2012. One proposed route for Illiana Expressway would have west end connecting at Bluff Road and I-55. It would require removal of numerous homes. Plan does not sit will with Channahon officials. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:24AM
CHANNAHON — Neighborhoods in southeast Channahon may have some pretty significant changes coming their way if an alternate route for the proposed Illiana Expressway is approved.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, about 30 houses would be taken northwest of Bluff Road at Interstate 55 if the plans go through. The subdivisions nearest the interchange are Fairhaven Heights and Rolling Acres.
“We could lose around 30 homes,” said Channahon Village Administrator Joe Pena, “and they might close off Bluff Road to interstate access. And that’s a problem for us.”
Pena discussed the possibilities with the village board in a recent meeting but said IDOT has not approved any plan yet.
“We don’t have any kind of site plan for what this would look like yet,” he said. “There is not enough information.”
But the possibilities they’ve heard so far concern them.
The idea behind the Illiana Expressway is to lessen east-west traffic on Interstate 90/94 and on Interstate 80, running from I-55 somewhere south of Joliet to Interstate 65 near Lowell, Ind. The expressway would also improve access to jobs and would allow better accessibility to freight facilities, planners say.
The original design of the Illiana Expressway would have had it beginning just north of Wilmington, but engineers now say that corridor would affect established development too much. A little farther south, and it would interfere with property currently used by the Joliet Army Training Area and earmarked for transfer to the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
Constructing the entrance point at Bluff Road in Channahon may be a more viable alternative, the state says. Considerations now are to close off Bluff Road to interstate and expressway access, which would affect residents and businesses in town. Currently, Bluff Road does have an interchange at I-55.
“There are a number of people who use that interchange now,” Village President Joe Cook said. “It will impact hundreds of people, including those who use our golf course … This is a highway that will point 20,000 vehicles per day at our community, force 30 people out of their homes and impact hundreds of others with the noise and pollution. … And there will be no off ramps. … No economic benefit to us.”
The village board has sent a letter to IDOT stating that several actions would be necessary if the expressway will be constructed at Bluff Road. One is that Bluff should remain open to I-55 and open to the expressway, except for truck traffic. Another is for the state to reconstruct the I-55/Route 6 interchange, which is heavily traveled and congested already. Channahon is also requesting IDOT add one or two lanes to I-55 from I-80 to the Des Plaines River to allow for the extra traffic the expressway could bring.
Access to an interactive map of the proposed routes is available at