Proposed Illiana route draws fire in Wilmington
By Mary Baskerville For The Herald-News June 21, 2012 1:16PM
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:54AM
WILMINGTON — While members of the Wilmington City Council express a need for the alleviation of truck traffic on Routes 53 and 102, the route of the proposed Illiana Expressway is not getting a green light.
Opinions differ on the council, and a vote on the proposed link between Interstate 55 in Illinois and Interstate 65 in Indiana is expected at its next meeting.
Alderman Frank Studer said the current B3 option announced by the Illiana Study Committee “would place an unfair burden on our city that can never be done.”
Studer expressed his opinion in an earlier letter to the mayor and the city council: “This planned route will slice through some of the most valuable and developable residential property left on the west side of our town, creating an eyesore that will pollute our community with noise and exhaust fumes, destroying property values and ruining the peace and serenity of all effected along Kankakee Street, Kankakee River Drive, Widows Road and Stevens Lane just to name a few.
“It will also affect the beauty of our island parks, forever changing the view to the north.”
Alderman Kevin Kirwin said he is not for the path as identified through Wilmington, but that he also does not favor a resolution opposing the project.
Mayor Marty Orr said the city is continuing attempts to have the study committee move the route further north, suggesting that federal legislators give the study committee permission to consider placing the route through the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
Orr said the city has supported a corridor north of the Kankakee River using the River Road to Arsenal or Peotone Road.
River Road “is the ideal route for the ending point of the B3 Route in Wilmington,” he said.
After the meeting, Orr said the city’s request to U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger to work for consideration of the expressway’s route through Midewin has not yet resulted “in a yes or no answer.”
The expressway would require about 300 acres of Midewin’s 3,000 acres, he said — “Less than 1 percent of Midewin.”
Maps of the proposed corridors are at www.iilianacorridor.org.