Posted on July 18, 2011 2:00 PM
GO TO 2040 Capital Projects in the News
Two high-priority GO TO 2040 capital projects -- the Elgin-O'Hare West Bypass and the Central Lake County Corridor extension of Illinois Route 53 -- are in the news, as a pair of advisory councils are evaluating these proposed transportation improvements.
On July 14, Governor Quinn announced that the Elgin-O'Hare advisory council had submitted its final report. Co-chaired by then-Secretary of Transportation Gary Hannig and Illinois Tollway executive director Kristi Lafleur, the council included CMAP Board member and Mayor Al Larson of Schaumburg and CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn. The report evaluates potential funding strategies and describes economic benefits of the project, which the council estimates could create 65,000 permanent jobs by 2040. The Elgin O'Hare Expressway and West O'Hare Bypass project will improve access to areas west of O'Hare Airport and also to a proposed West O'Hare Terminal. It includes a western expressway bypass of O'Hare, an extension of the Elgin O'Hare Expressway from I-290/IL 53 to the western bypass and west terminal, and an additional lane in each direction on the existing Elgin O'Hare expressway. The GO TO 2040 plan states that this project is needed to relieve congestion and improve accessibility throughout the O'Hare area, which is a major economic driver for the region.
Also, an advisory council created by the Tollway is studying the proposed extension of Route 53 to central Lake County, beyond where it currently ends at Lake-Cook Road. Co-chaired by Lake County Board chairman David Stolman and Metropolis Strategies president and CEO George Ranney (with CMAP's Randy Blankenhorn among its members), the Route 53 council will issue its recommendations next year, following public input that included recent meetings in Lake County and DuPage County. To ease congestion that has resulted from rapid development of central Lake County in recent decades, this project will improve access and mobility in the county and our region as a whole. GO TO 2040 calls for a 21st Century urban highway — this "modern boulevard" should have a smaller footprint to minimize potential negative impacts while protecting the natural environment and preserving the character of nearby communities. Read more in TribLocal and Patch.