Illinois Route 3

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Illinois Route 3 marker

Illinois Route 3
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length: 187.44 mi[2] (301.66 km)
Existed: 1918[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: I-57 / US 51 in Cairo
  I-255 / US 50 in Columbia
I-255 / US 50 in Cahokia
I-55 / I-64 / US 40 in East St. Louis
I-55 / I-64 / I-70 / US 40 in East St. Louis
I-270 in Granite City
US 67 in Alton
North end: IL 100 in Grafton
Counties: Alexander, Union, Jackson, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Madison, Jersey
Highway system
Illinois State Highway System
IL 2 IL 4

Illinois Route 3 is a major north–south arterial state highway in southwestern Illinois. It has its southern terminus at Cairo Junction (about 4 miles (6.4 km), or 7 km, north of Cairo) at the intersection of Interstate 57 and U.S. Route 51, and its northern terminus in Grafton at Illinois Route 100. This is a distance of 187.44 miles (301.66 km).[2]

Route description[edit]

Illinois 3 has 4 lanes from Waterloo to Godfrey, with a brief 6-lane stretch in Granite City around the River's Edge area (formerly the Army Depot of Granite City) and around Alton. It is 2 laned the majority of the southern part from Waterloo to Mound City around the Shawnee National Forest Area. It briefly overlaps Illinois Route 111 at Alton, Interstate 255 and U.S. Route 50, and Illinois Route 127 north of Cache.

Illinois 3 parallels the Mississippi River for the entire length of its journey, and carries the Illinois portion of the Great River Road for most of its length. South of St. Louis, Interstate 55 is its parallel on the west side of the river, along with U.S. Route 61. The road runs along many historical sites along the Mississippi River, and is the closest Illinois state highway to the old state capitol of Kaskaskia.


On August 4, 1976, the new Berm Highway from Wood River to Alton was opened.[3] It would be signed as IL Route 3, which left the old alignment on Lewis and Clark Blvd. and Broadway unmarked. However, on June 29, 1987, IDOT built the new Madison Avenue extension in Wood River and marked that road and the Berm Highway as IL 143[4] and "truncated" IL 3 at IL 143 (highway signage and IDOT planning maps suggested otherwise, however). This new terminus for Route 3 was short-lived, however.

On November 26, 1987, a new section of Homer M. Adams Parkway in Alton opened to traffic, and IL 3 was extended onto Lewis and Clark Blvd. (a former IL 3 alignment) back into Alton and onto the extension. IL 3 was then cosigned with IL 111 until the intersection with Godfrey Road, where IL 3 takes over the former IL 100 alignment.[5]

Original 1918 Route The original Illinois 3 route went from Cairo Junction in southern Illinois to Morrison in northwest Illinois via Rock Island. With the completion of highway bridges over the Mississippi River (e.g. Clark Bridge at Alton) U.S. Route 67 was extended from St. Louis to Godfrey and replacing the original Illinois 3 to Rock Island. Today, this route is still the major north–south corridor for western Illinois - and the only major Illinois north–south route never upgraded to the Interstate highway system (e.g. Interstates 57, 55, 39).

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile Junction Notes
Alexander US 51 south / Great River Road south – Cairo Continuation beyond I-57
I-57 / US 51 north Interchange; I-57 exit 1
IL 127 north
IL 146 west – Cape Girardeau South end of IL 146 overlap
Union Ware IL 146 east North end of IL 146 overlap
Jackson Grimsby IL 149 east – Murphysboro
Randolph Chester IL 150 west (State Street) South end of IL 150 overlap; To Chester Bridge
IL 150 east (State Street) North end of IL 150 overlap
IL 155 west / GRR spur – Fort de Chartres
Red Bud IL 159 north (Main Street) / IL 154 east (Market Street)
Monroe Waterloo IL 156 (Park Street)
IL 158 east Interchange
Quarry Road, Palmer Road Interchange
I-255 south / US 50 west – St. Louis County, Memphis, Tulsa South end of I-255/US 50 overlap; Interchange
St. Clair Dupo Dupo Interchange; I-255 exit 9
I-255 north / US 50 east – Chicago North end of I-255/US 50 overlap; Interchange
Cahokia IL 157 east (Camp Jackson Road)
East St. Louis I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west – St. Louis, Wentzville, MO, Columbia, MO South end of I-55/I-64/US-40 overlap; Interchange
Fourth Street – East St. Louis Northbound exit and southbound entrance; Interchange
13th Street, Tudor Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance; Interchange
Third Street (IL 15), Eads Bridge Southbound exit and northbound entrance; Exit 2A; Interchange
Martin Luther King BridgeDowntown St. Louis Southbound exit and northbound entrance; Exit 2B/2C; Interchange
I-64 east to IL 3 north (St. Clair Ave.) / Great River Road – Louisville (Mt. Vernon, IL), Alton, IL North end of I-64 overlap; Northbound exit only; Interchange; Southbound entrance to I-64 from St. Clair Ave.
I-55 north / I-70 east / US 40 east – Chicago, Indianapolis, Vandalia North end of I-55/US 40 overlap; Interchange
Fairmont City I-70 east and west – Indianapolis, Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge/St. Louis New construction open from 9 February 2014; Interchange via Exchange St. & new overpass
Madison I-270 east & west – Effingham, St. Charles Interchange

GRR spur – Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
South end of the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route overlap (it ends at this intersection)
Wood River IL 143 / Great River Road north / Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route north – Wood River, Alton, Riverfront North end of Great River Rd./Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route overlap
East Alton Broadway
Alton IL 140 / IL 111 south (College Avenue) South end of IL 111 overlap; Interchange; To Amtrak station
IL 111 north to US 67 North end of IL 111 overlap
Jersey IL 109 north
Grafton IL 100 / Great River Road / Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Carlson, Rick. Illinois State Highways Page: Routes 1 through 20. Last updated March 15, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  3. ^ Alton Telegraph, August 4, 1976
  4. ^ Alton Telegraph, June 30, 1987
  5. ^ Alton Telegraph, November 26, 1987