Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski (Governor's Office), Gary Abell (INDOT)
Phone: 317-232-1622, 317-233-4675

For Immediate Release: Dec 12, 2006
Indiana and Illinois to study new highway connecting major interstates

INDIANAPOLIS (December 12, 2006) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced today the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have signed an agreement to study potential locations for a new interstate-quality highway connecting I-57 in Illinois to I-94 in Indiana. The proposed highway, known as the Illiana Expressway, would be publicly owned but built with private funds, not tax dollars, and operated under contract as a toll road. The highway would help relieve increasing traffic congestion in Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area.

"The Illiana Expressway would stimulate jobs all along its route, and help both the economy and quality of life throughout Chicagoland by alleviating congestion. The possibilities for intermodal distribution alone are enormous," said Daniels.

After selecting an engineering firm for the project, engineers will perform a full-scale environmental impact analysis and identify a final highway alignment. The bi-state study, estimated to cost between $5 million and $10 million, is expected to take no more than three years to complete. INDOT will be the lead agency, and the two states will share the cost of the study. State and federal approval are needed before construction could begin.

Addressing the movement of freight will be a significant factor in the study. Rail yards in the Chicagoland area feed a large number of trucks using the current highway system. In Indiana, the Borman Expressway (I-80/94) is the state's second busiest highway and half of the traffic is semi-trucks. The new highway would address these traffic issues:

  • The current expansion of the Borman Expressway is the last because there is no additional land available. This expansion is expected to handle traffic growth for about 15 years.
  • The number of trucks that use the Borman each is expected to increase by 50 percent in the next 20 years. Right now, there are 28,000 per day.
  • 300,000 vehicles travel between Indiana and Chicago each day on the Borman, US 6, US 30, the Indiana Toll Road and local streets.
  • The metropolitan planning organization for Northwest Indiana estimates that the Illiana Expressway would reduce truck traffic on US 30 by 59 percent and on the Borman, by 22 percent.

The costs of congestion are considerable. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, wasted fuel and time delays cost each traveler in the Chicago area nearly $1,000 annually. A national study, conducted in 2005 by the Federal Highway Administration, found delays due to congestion cost the trucking industry and its customers a minimum of $32 an hour, or some $8 billion annually.

The highway would be approximately 63 miles, with 50 of that in Indiana. Truck-only lanes will be evaluated along with the latest technology to facilitate the efficient movement of traffic and freight.

A map of the proposed study area may be found at this link: