Updated: November 28, 2011 10:20AM
HOBART, Ind. — A task force has come up with eight possible routes for the proposed Illiana Expressway that would link Interstate 55 in Illinois with Interstate 65 in northwestern Indiana.
The routes presented during a public meeting Tuesday head west from I-65 at points from just south of U.S. 30 in Merrillville, Ind., to near the Kankakee River.
Some of the routes pass near the proposed South Suburban Airport site near Peotone before reaching I-55 south of Joliet.
Data shows the number of vehicle trips in the study area will grow by 128 percent in the next 30 years.
The task force plans to narrow the list of possible routes ahead of public hearings Dec. 13 in Crown Point, Ind., and Dec. 14 in Matteson. It expects to recommend its preferred route by next summer.
The legislatures of both states last year approved bills to allow a private developer to build the highway and run it as a toll road. The road could relieve congestion on east-west highways running south of Chicago, such as I-80.
Lake County (Ind.) Commissioner Gerry Scheub said he believed the highway would give little benefit to Indiana while boosting the airport project at the expense of the existing Gary/Chicago International Airport.
“We’re getting a 12-mile stretch,” Scheub said. “We are a minor player. Illinois is the major player.”