Illiana Expressway public hearings set for this week

July 30, 2012 3:31:38 PM PDT
Things are heating up as officials get closer to narrowing down a corridor for the proposed Illiana Expressway between Illinois and Indiana. The next set of public hearings begins Tuesday, and many residents are not happy.

A peaceful, uncongested stretch part of Lowell, Indiana, could change drastically if the proposed Illiana Expressway runs through the town.

"We are at the crossroads of America," said IDOT Spokesman Guy Tridgell. "We do see a lot of truck traffic move through this area. Unfortunately we do suffer from a lack of east-west routes, and that's what the Illiana Expressway is supposed to address."

The Illiana expressway would be about 50 miles, linking Interstate 65 in Indiana to Interstate 55 in Illinois.

The proposed routes have been narrowed down to three, but it's the preferred B3 route that is causing the most controversy.

Estimates show up to 300 properties could be affected by the Illiana Corridor. A concentration of 55 homes is inside the Moriah subdivision in unincorporated Lowell and Crown Point, Indiana.

Don Carnahan has lived In Crown Point 40 years. His home is in the line of fire.

"If it goes south within that preferred corridor, our house will be condemned; if it goes north, it'll be basically in our backyard," Carnahan said. "It's got us on edge."

There are other concerns:

  • The location and number of interchanges.
  • Will this be a tollway?
  • And securing fair market value for their homes.

"I think one of the best ways we can protect their values and all is to be involved in where this road goes and make sure it's someplace that makes sense, both economically and does the least displacement of people," said Lowell Town Councilman Don Parker.

Lowell Homeowner Ted Gross is trying to get as many people to Tuesday's public hearing as possible.

"They had it at the Porter County Fairgrounds, and INDOT meeting, where they wanted to come with it, people were standing outside so they had to quit," said Gross. "Valparaiso didn't want the Illiana Expressway coming their way."

Tuesday's public hearing is in Peotone. Wednesday's is in Lowell.

For more information on the Illiana Corridor, and for more information on this week's public hearings, log on to www.illianacorridor.org.


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