Updated: October 4, 2013 10:22PM
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s transportation committee voted Friday to include the proposed Illiana Expressway on CMAP’s list of major transportation projects in its long-range regional plan.
The advisory vote precedes binding votes on the project from the CMAP Board and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which are set to consider endorsing the proposed tollway at their Oct. 9 and Oct. 17 meetings, respectively.
Despite a CMAP staff recommendation against the project, the CMAP committee voted to amend the Go To 2040 regional plan to include the Illiana Expressway, which was omitted from the plan in 2010.
The 47-mile tollway road would be built through a private-public partnership and would connect Interstate 55 near Wilmington with I-65 near Lowell, Ind.
Supporters say it would provide another major east-west highway through Northeast Illinois and relieve traffic on I-80, which is needed because truck traffic is fast increasing in Will County because of the growth of intermodal centers, where train and truck cargo are exchanged.
Those opposed to the highway contend that it will cost much more than the projected $1.25 billion, and its benefits for economic development and traffic relief will be negligible.