Illinois Route 1

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Illinois Route 1 marker

Illinois Route 1
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length: 325.59 mi[2] (523.99 km)
Existed: 1918[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: KY 91 in Cave-in-Rock
  US 45 in Norris City
I-64 in Grayville
US 50 in Lawrenceville
I-70 in Marshall
US 36 in Chrisman
I-74 in Danville
US 24 in Watseka
US 52 in Martinton
I-80 / I-294 in East Hazel Crest
US 6 in Harvey
North end: I-57 in Chicago
Counties: Clark, Cook, Crawford, Edgar, Edwards, Gallatin, Hardin, Iroquois, Lawrence, Vermilion, Wabash, White, Will
Highway system
I-474 IL 2

Illinois Route 1 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Illinois. Running parallel to the Indiana border, it is also the longest state road, starting on the south side of Chicago as Halsted Street at an interchange with Interstate 57 (I–57), south to a free ferry crossing to Kentucky at Cave-in-Rock on the Ohio River. This is a distance of 325.59 miles (523.99 km).[2]

Route description[edit]

Illinois 1 starts in the river town of Cave In Rock, Illinois, near the Ohio River. It passes through the hills of Southern Illinois, and junctions at US 45 in Norris City. From there, it continues northeast through Carmi, Grayville, and Mount Carmel, and makes another direction change to the north. After passing through Lawrenceville, Illinois 1 does not pass through many towns for the next 50 miles until it reaches Marshall, although it does come close to Robinson. The road then runs through Paris, where it begins a multiplex with US 150. At Danville, US 150 splits off towards Champaign and US 136 follows Illinois 1 north for about 12 miles. Illinois 1 is more of a major route north of Danville, since it connects Danville with the Chicago area. Illinois 1 runs in a relatively north direction north of Danville, passing through Hoopeston and Watseka before reaching the outskirts of Kankakee. Illinois 1 then zigzags through Momence and Grant Park along with Illinois 17. At Goodenow, a lot of traffic merges onto Illinois 394, while most of the local traffic stays on Illinois 1. Illinois 394 eventually turns into I-94 in the southern suburbs. From Goodenow, Illinois 1 runs through numerous Chicago suburbs such as Chicago Heights and Harvey before ending at I–57 on Chicago's south side.[3]


Illinois 1 was commissioned in 1918 as SBI Route 1. The original route had extended further along the northern end into Chicago along Vincennes Avenue and Michigan Avenue, and on the southern end from Norris City to Metropolis.

When U.S. Highway 45 was established from Norris City to Metropolis, Illinois 1 shifted east to Cave-In-Rock. Kentucky State Route 91 continues across the Ohio River.

In 1937, Illinois 1 was shifted southeast away from Albion to directly connect Mount Carmel and Grayville. Eventually, Illinois Route 15 and Illinois Route 130 replaced Illinois 1 to Albion.

In the 1950s, a freeway, then known as the Calumet Expressway, was constructed south from Chicago. This was designated Illinois 1, while the old highway along Halsted Street was signed Alternate Illinois Route 1. By 1964, Illinois 1 was restored to its old alignment, and Illinois Route 394 was applied to the expressway south of the portion designated as Interstate 94 (the I-94 portion now being known as the Bishop Ford Freeway). At this time, Illinois 1 was discontinued north of I–57.

Dixie Highway[edit]

Most of Route 1 north of Danville was part of the western division of the Dixie Highway, which goes through downstate Illinois and enters the Chicago area as it passes through Beecher. From here it follows the Vincennes Trail north and splits into the Bishop Ford Freeway (formerly the Calumet Expressway) and Chicago Road (which was one of the original roads into Chicago from the south) The Dixie Highway follows Chicago Road through Crete, Steger, South Chicago Heights, (at which point it meets up with the Sauk Trail.

As Route 1 continues north, it has a junction with Lincoln Highway (US 30). This is sometimes known as the "Crossroads of the Nation", because it is the intersection of two major auto trails. This intersection helped cities such as Chicago Heights thrive in its early days. Approximately two blocks after this intersection, Dixie Highway splits from Chicago Road and continues north through Flossmoor and Homewood. At the north end of Homewood's downtown, the road turns and goes under the Illinois Central Railroad tracks, which now carries both the Metra Electric Line and Amtrak trains. The road continues north through East Hazel Crest and past the Markham Rail Yards and under the Tri-State Tollway.

Past the tollway, the road enters Hazel Crest, Markham and then Harvey. As the road continues, creating a border between the towns of Dixmoor and Posen, its name changes to Western Avenue.

When the road enters Blue Island, it splits into two streets, (Western and Gregory), and realigns itself into one when it reaches Burr Oak Avenue. The road then enters the city of Chicago. Through Chicago, Western Avenue is a major boulevard, which continues north through the city to the town of Evanston (where it is named Asbury Street), which is where the Dixie Highway ends.[citation needed]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile km Destinations Notes
Hardin Cave in Rock Cave in Rock Ferry
Loves Corner IL 146 west – Elizabethtown
Gallatin   IL 13
  IL 141 – New Haven, Evansville
White   US 45 – Norris City, Eldorado
Carmi IL 14 west / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) west – McLeansboro South end of IL 14 / Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
Crossville IL 14 east / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) east North end of IL 14 / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) overlap; south end of Lincoln Heritage Trail (Eastern Branch) overlap
Grayville I-64 – St. Louis, Evansville I-64 exit 130
Edwards IL 130 north – Albion
Wabash Mount Carmel IL 15 east (Walnut Street) – Princeton South end of IL 15 overlap
IL 15 west – Albion North end of IL 15 overlap
Lawrence Lawrenceville
US 50 Bus.
  US 50 – Vincennes, Olney Interchange
Crawford Gordon IL 33 – Robinson, Palestine, Airport
Clark Marshall Lincoln Heritage Trail (Eastern Branch) north (South 6th Street) North end of Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
Historic National Road (Archer Street)
US 40 – Casey, Terre Haute
I-70 – Effingham, Terre Haute I-70 exit 147
Edgar Paris US 150 east / IL 16 west / IL 133 west (Jasper Street) – Charleston, Arcola, Terre Haute South end of US 150 overlap
Chrisman US 36 – Decatur, Indianapolis
Vermilion Danville 14th Street Interchange
I-74 – Champaign, Indianapolis I-74 exit 215
US 136 east / US 150 west (Main Street) – Urbana, Business District North end of US 150 overlap; south end of US 136 overlap
  US 136 west / IL 119 east – Henning, Alvin North end of US 136 overlap
Hoopeston IL 9 – Rankin, Lafayette
Iroquois Watseka US 24 east – Sheldon South end of US 24 overlap
US 24 west – Gilman North end of US 24 overlap
  US 52 – Kankakee, Sheldon
Kankakee   IL 17 west – Kankakee South end of IL 17 overlap
Momence IL 114 east
  IL 17 east North end of IL 17 overlap
Will Crete IL 394 north
Cook South Chicago Heights Lincoln Highway east (Sauk Trail) South end of Lincoln Highway overlap
Chicago Heights US 30 / Lincoln Highway west North end of Lincoln Highway overlap
East Hazel Crest I-80 / I-294 (Tollway) – Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana
Harvey US 6 (159th Street)
IL 83 (Sibley Boulevard)
Chicago I-57 to I-94 I-57 exit 357; roadway continues as Halsted Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Carlson, Rick. Illinois State Highways Page: Routes 1 thru 20. Last updated March 15, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center. T2 GIS Data. Retrieved April 7, 2006. As documented in Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Lengths/Illinois.
  3. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (PDF). Illinois Highway Map (Map). Cartography by IDOT. Section C10–D10. Retrieved February 9, 2013.