Interstate 55 in Illinois

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This article is about the section of Interstate 55 in Illinois. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 55.

Interstate 55 marker

Interstate 55
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length: 294.38 mi[1] (473.76 km)
Major junctions
South end: I-55 / I-64 / US 40 in East St. Louis
 
North end: US 41 in Chicago
Highway system
IL 54 IL 56

Interstate 55 (I-55) is a major north–south Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Illinois that connects the St. Louis, Missouri, and Chicago metropolitan areas. It runs from the Poplar Street Bridge in East St. Louis to U.S. Route 41 (US 41, Lake Shore Drive) near downtown Chicago. This is a distance of 294.38 miles (473.76 km).[2] The section in Cook County is officially named the Stevenson Expressway.

Route description[edit]

I-55 within Illinois carries heavy traffic, with an average of more than 20,000 vehicles per day for most of its length.[3] Significant portions of I-55 contain six lanes (three lanes in each direction) and are heavily used by commuters.[4] I-55 in Illinois begins in East St. Louis on the Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River at the Missouri–Illinois state line[4] and runs southwest to northeast through the state, ending in Chicago at US 41 (Lake Shore Drive). Along the way, it goes through four metropolitan areas in the state: the Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the Springfield metropolitan area, the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area, and the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as Chicagoland).[4]

I-55 enters the Chicago metro area as the Stevenson Expressway and provides easy access to downtown Chicago via both the I-90/I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) interchange and US 41 (Lake Shore Drive) at the northern terminus of I-55, near Cermak Road and the lakefront.

History[edit]

I-55 in Illinois is the fourth road to connect St. Louis and Chicago. The first was the Pontiac Trail in 1915. This was largely improved and paved as the new Illinois Route 4 (IL 4) by 1924.[5] In 1926, IL 4 was designated as the route of the new U.S 66, and a new section of US 66 was built to bypass slower sections of IL 4 south of Springfield by 1930. Through the 1950s US 66 was continually widened, straightened, and improved to handle its growing traffic, until its entire length was four lanes wide by 1957.[6]

The roots of I-55 could be traced back to the need of a national highway system.[7] President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the need of a national network of highways that would help with the mobilization of the army. He had been impressed with the autobahn he saw in Germany during World War II. In 1956 he signed the Federal Aid Highway Act into existence.[7] Although the act provided for a highway replacing Route 66, it was spared destruction for a while because of it being more modern than other routes at the time.[7] Illinois would build its first new Interstate highways on other routes such as I-80, I-57, and I-70, before turning its attention once again to the St. Louis-to-Chicago route.

However during the 1970s, Route 66 was finally replaced by I-55 as the fourth St. Louis-to-Chicago highway, serving most of the same communities along the way as the original Pontiac Trail. It was built in sections across Illinois, often on the original Route 66 roadbed. A common construction tactic where Route 66 was already four lanes wide, was to build new southbound lanes for I-55 west of the original road, then rebuild the original southbound lanes of US 66 to be the new northbound lanes for I-55, leaving the original northbound lanes of old US 66 as a two-way service road.[7] One can find many signs posted for Historic US 66, especially where it deviates from I-55.

The earliest stretch of I-55 was a portion of US 66 which had already been built as a freeway between Gardner and I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) in Indian Head Park, and which was added to the Interstate system by simply erecting new signs in 1960.[8] Later portions of the highway were built in the 1960s between East St. Louis and Hamel, as bypasses of Springfield and Bloomington-Normal.[9] The rest of the road was completed in the 1970s.

The Stevenson Expressway near Countryside, heading southwest

The Stevenson Expressway opened on October 24, 1964 as the Southwest Expressway. It was renamed after Adlai Stevenson,[10] the former governor of Illinois, on September 1, 1965, a month and a half after his death. The Stevenson's original termini were US 66 in DuPage County to the west, and the Dan Ryan Expressway to the east.

In 1999–2000, the expressway was completely rebuilt from Central Avenue north to Lake Shore Drive, including the ramps to the Dan Ryan. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) was criticized at the time for not adding a fourth lane in each direction to the highway.[11]

Recent upgrades and current construction[edit]

Because of the heavy traffic on I-55, IDOT must spend millions per year maintaining the roadway, adding lanes, and replacing bridges to increase the capacity of the highway.[12][13]

In northeastern Illinois near Joliet, a widening project that expanded I-55 from two to three lanes in each direction between I-80 (exit 250) and Weber Road (exit 263) was completed on October 29, 2008.[14]

In the 2000s decade, the Damen Avenue (exit 290) and Pulaski Road (exit 287) interchanges were rebuilt as a single-point urban interchange (SPUI) configuration; in 2014 reconstruction as a SPUI was completed for the Central Avenue (exit 285) interchange. The Arsenal Road (exit 245) interchange was under complete rebuilding and reconfiguration as of 2012, and the deteriorated overpass at IL 129 (exit 238) was removed in 2012 in anticipation of future construction of a full interchange, temporarily leaving the IL 129 interchange with only a northbound exit and northbound entrance.[15][16]

At St. Louis, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge carrying I-70 across the Mississippi River, and costing $667 million, was completed in 2014 to relieve congestion on I-55's Poplar Street Bridge.[17][18]

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[19] km Exit Destinations Notes
Mississippi River 0.00 0.00 Poplar Street Bridge
I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west continues into Missouri
St. Clair East St. Louis IL 3 south / Great River Road south – Cahokia Southern end of IL 3/GRR overlap
13th Street, Tudor Avenue
1 Fourth Street – East St. Louis Business District Northbound exit and southbound entrance
2A Third Street – Eads Bridge Southbound exit and northbound entrance
2BC Martin Luther King Bridge – Downtown St. Louis Southbound exit and northbound entrance; left exit is signed as exit 2B and right exit as 2C
2 I-64 east / I-70 west (St. Clair Avenue) / IL 3 north – Louisville, Kansas City Northern end of I-64/IL 3 overlap; Southern end of I-70 overlap
3 Exchange Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
  4 IL 203 / Collinsville Road – Fairmont City, Granite City Signed as exits 4A (south) and 4B (north) southbound
Madison Fairmont City 6 IL 111 / Great River Road north – Wood River, Washington Park Northern end of GRR overlap
Collinsville 9 Black Lane Northbound exit and southbound entrance
10 I-255 to I-270 – Memphis
11 IL 157 – Collinsville, Edwardsville
Maryville 15 IL 159 – Collinsville, Maryville Signed as exits 15A (south) and 15B (north)
  17 US 40 east – St. Jacob, Highland Northern end of US 40 overlap
Troy 18 IL 162 – Troy
  20A I-70 east – Indianapolis Northern end of I-70 overlap
  20B I-270 west – Kansas City
  23 IL 143 – Edwardsville, Marine
Hamel 30 IL 140 – Alton, Greenville
  33 IL 4 – Staunton, Lebanon
Livingston 37 Livingston, New Douglas
Macoupin   41 Staunton
White City 44 IL 138 – Mount Olive, Benld
Montgomery Litchfield 52 IL 16 – Gillespie, Litchfield
  60 IL 108 – Carlinville
  63 IL 48 / IL 127 – Raymond, Taylorville, Hillsboro
Farmersville 72 Farmersville, Girard
Sangamon Divernon 80 Divernon
  82 IL 104 – Pawnee, Auburn
  83 Glenarm
Springfield 88 East Lake Drive – Chatham
90 Toronto Road
92A I-55 Bus. north (6th Street)
92B I-72 west / US 36 west – Jacksonville Southern end of I-72/US 36 overlap
94 Stevenson Drive, East Lake Drive
96 IL 29 (South Grand Avenue) – Taylorville Signed as exits 96A (south) and 96B (north)
98A I-72 east / US 36 east – Decatur Northern end of I-72/US 36 overlap
98B IL 97 west (Clear Lake Avenue)
100 IL 54 east (Sangamon Avenue) – Clinton Signed as exits 100A (east) and 100B (west)
Sherman 105 I-55 Bus. south – Springfield, Sherman
Williamsville 109 Williamsville, Petersburg (IL 123)
Logan Elkhart 115 Elkhart
  119 Broadwell
  123 I-55 Bus. north – Lincoln
Lincoln 126 IL 10 / IL 121 – Lincoln, Mason City
  127 I-155 north – Peoria, Hartsburg
  133 I-55 Bus. south – Lincoln, Lawndale
  140 Atlanta, Lawndale
McLean   145 US 136 – McLean, Heyworth
  154 Shirley
  157A I-74 east / US 51 south – Indianapolis, Decatur Southern end of I-74/US 51 overlap
Bloomington 157B I-55 Bus. north (Veterans Parkway) Signed as exit 134B (north) southbound
160 US 150 / IL 9 (Market Street) – Pekin
  163 I-74 west – Peoria Northern end of I-74 overlap
  164 I-39 north / US 51 north – Rockford Northern end of US 51 overlap
Normal 165
US 51 Bus. – Bloomington-Normal
Signed as exits 165A (south) and 165B (north) northbound
167 I-55 Bus. south (Veterans Parkway) – Central Illinois Regional Airport
  171 Towanda
Lexington 178 Lexington
Chenoa 187 US 24 – El Paso, Chenoa
Livingston   197 IL 116 – Flanagan, Pontiac
  201 IL 23 – Pontiac, Streator
  209 Odell
Dwight 217 IL 17 – Streator, Kankakee
Grundy   220 IL 47 – Dwight, Morris
  227 IL 53 – Gardner
GrundyWill county line   233 Reed Road – Braidwood
Will   236 IL 113 – Kankakee, Coal City
  238 IL 129 south (Will Rogers Highway) – Braidwood Northbound exit and northbound entrance
  240 Lorenzo Road
  241 Wilmington
  244 Arsenal Road
  247 Bluff Road
Channahon 248 US 6 – Joliet, Morris
  250 I-80 – Iowa, Indiana Signed as exits 250A (east) and 250B (west)
Shorewood 251 IL 59 north (Will Rogers Highway) / Historic US 66 alt. – Shorewood, Plainfield Northbound exit and southbound entrance
ShorewoodJoliet city line 253 US 52 – Joliet, Shorewood
Joliet 257 US 30 – Aurora, Joliet
Plainfield 261 IL 126 west (Will Rogers Highway, Main Street) / Historic US 66 alt. – Plainfield Southbound exit and northbound entrance
RomeovilleBolingbrook city line 263 Weber Road
Bolingbrook 267 IL 53 – Bolingbrook, Romeoville
268 Historic US 66 west (Will Rogers Highway, Joliet Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
269 I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) – Northwest Suburbs, Southwest Suburbs
DuPage Darien 271 Lemont Road Signed as exits 271A (south) and 271B (north)
273 Cass Avenue Signed as exits 273A (south) and 273B (north)
WillowbrookBurr Ridge city line 274 IL 83 (Kingery Hwy)
DuPageCook county line Burr Ridge 276.43 444.87 276 County Line Road Signed as exits 276A (south) and 276B (north)
Cook Indian Head Park 277.08 445.92 276C Historic US 66 east (Will Rogers Highway, Joliet Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Indian Head ParkCountryside city line 277.64 446.82 277 I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana, Wisconsin Signed as exits 277A (north) and 277B (south); southbound exit to I-294 south is via exit 279A
CountrysideHodgkins city line 278.99 448.99 279 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (La Grange Road) Signed as exits 279A (east/south) and 279B (west/north)
Summit 282.32 454.35 282 IL 171 (1st Avenue) Signed as exits 282A (south) and 282B (north) northbound
SummitChicago city line 283.19 455.75 283 IL 43 (Harlem Avenue (7200 West))
Chicago 285.93 460.16 285 Central Avenue (5600 West)
286.96 461.82 286 IL 50 (Cicero Avenue (4800 West)) – Chicago Midway Airport
287.98 463.46 287 Pulaski Road (4000 West)
289.00 465.10 288 Kedzie Avenue (3200 West) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
289.52 465.94 289 California Avenue (2800 West) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
290.05–
290.07
466.79–
466.82
290 Damen Avenue (2000 West)
290 Ashland Avenue (1600 West) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
292.63 470.94 292 I-90 / I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana, Wisconsin Signed as exits 292A (west) and 292B (east) northbound, and as exits 292 (west) and 293B (east) southbound
293.00 471.54 293A Cermak Road – Chinatown (2200 South) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
293.22 471.89 293C State Street (0 East/West) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
293.67 472.62 293D Martin L. King Drive (400 East) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
294.38 473.76 US 41 (Lake Shore Drive) Northern end of freeway; northbound exit to and southbound exit from Lake Shore Drive
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes[edit]

Auxiliary routes[edit]

I-55 has three auxiliary routes in Illinois:

  • I-155: A spur from I-55 in Lincoln to I-74 just east of Peoria.
  • I-255: The eastern third of the beltway around the St. Louis Metro Area (with I-270 forming the other two-thirds)
  • I-355: The Veterans Memorial Tollway, serving the western and southwestern suburbs of Chicago, running from I-80 in New Lenox to I-290 in Addison

Springfield business loop[edit]

Interstate 55 Business
Location: Springfield

Business Loop 55 refers to a major arterial surface street that serves downtown Springfield, Illinois. It runs north from the intersection of Interstates 55 and Interstate 72 through downtown to Illinois Route 4 (Veterans' Parkway). It then runs northeast to Sherman.[20]

All of Business Loop 55 was part of U.S. Route 66 at some point.

Major junctions
The entire route is in Sangamon County.

Location Mile[21] km Destinations Notes
Springfield 0.0–
0.7
0.0–
1.1
I-55 / I-72 / US 36 – Jacksonville, Decatur, Chicago, St. Louis Exit 92A (I-55), Exit 97B (I-72)
4.9 7.9 IL 97 north (Jefferson Street)
5.0 8.0 IL 97 south (Madison Street)
7.0 11.3 IL 29 (Sangamon Avenue) Southern end of IL 29 concurrency
8.0 12.9 IL 4 south / IL 29 north (Veterans Parkway) – Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport Northern end of IL 29 concurrency, northern terminus of IL 4
Sherman 12.1 19.5 IL 124 west (Andrew Road) – Andrew, Athens Eastern terminus of IL 124
12.7 20.4 I-55 south – Springfield Exit 105 (I-55), no access to I-55 northbound from this point
Williams Township 13.9 22.4 I-55 north – Chicago Only access to I-55 northbound
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Lincoln business loop[edit]

Interstate 55 Business
Location: Lincoln


Bloomington–Normal business loop[edit]

Interstate 55 Business
Location: BloomingtonNormal


References[edit]

  1. ^ Adderly, Kevin (October 31, 2002). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. OCLC 47914009. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ Microsoft (2002). MapPoint (Map).
  3. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (2011). 2011 Average Daily Total Traffic (Map). Scale not given. Cartography by Office of Planning and Programming. http://www.dot.il.gov/trafficmaps/ADT_statewide.pdf. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "I-55". Illinois Highway Ends. Self-published. Retrieved January 28, 2013. [unreliable source]
  5. ^ Illinois Automobile Department (1924). Illinois Official Auto Trails Map (Map). c. 1:950,000 and c. 1:1,110,000. http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/isl9/id/14/rec/4. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Illinois Division of Highways (1957). Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). 1:805,000. Cartography by H.M. Gousha. http://www.idaillinois.org/u?/isl9,98. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Stork, Peter (2008). "History: Alignments and Bypasses". Digital Route 66. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. [unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Illinois Division of Highways (1960). Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). 1:790,000. Cartography by H.M. Gousha. http://www.idaillinois.org/u?/isl9,110. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  9. ^ Illinois Division of Highways (1969). Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). 1:772,500. Cartography by Rand McNally. http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/isl9/id/141/rec/43. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Municipal Reference Collection (August 1997). "1964 Southwest Expressway Opened September 1, 1965—Renamed Adlai E. Stevenson Expressway". Chicago Public Library. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. 
  11. ^ Hilkevitch, John (March 26, 2006). "Buckle Up, It Looks like a Long Ride". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 26, 2006. 
  12. ^ "I-55 Resurfacing Work". The Herald News (Joliet, IL). May 24, 2002. 
  13. ^ Cain, Cindy Wojdyla (April 22, 2005). "Interstate Overhaul 55 and 80: 'Tight Cloverleaf' to Be Redone Starting in May". The Herald News (Joliet, IL). 
  14. ^ "Governor Blagojevich Announces Completion of Interstate 55 Widening Project: I-55 Corridor Improvement Project Added One Lane in Each Direction from Weber Rd to I-80; Goal Is to Increase Safety and Reduce Congestion" (Press release). Office of the Governor. October 29, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Southbound I-55 Ramp Closure in Wilmington" (Press release). Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  16. ^ "I-55 Wilmington Study". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  17. ^ "New Bridge May Mean Tolls on All Mississippi Bridges Here Making Motorists Pay Is a Last Resort But a Possibility, Officials Say". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 6, 1999. 
  18. ^ "New Mississippi River Bridge Opens to Traffic". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 9, 2014. 
  19. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  20. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (February 20, 2009). General Highway Map: Sangamon County, Illinois (Map). http://www.dot.il.gov/maps/county/sangamon.pdf. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  21. ^ Google Inc. "Interstate 55 Business (Springfield)". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=I-55+N&daddr=39.7818586,-89.644669+to:39.8279884,-89.6389541+to:I-55+N&hl=en&ll=39.832268,-89.584579&spn=0.215662,0.445976&sll=39.804382,-89.629126&sspn=0.053937,0.111494&geocode=FXJQXgId7SSo-g%3BFeIFXwIdgyGo-ilHVcZuojl1iDEpfwSmOWLS6g%3BFRS6XwId1jeo-ikBamGZRDd1iDF-jugZIKSlQQ%3BFTQWYQIdFRSp-g&mra=dpe&mrsp=2&sz=14&via=1,2&t=m&z=12. Retrieved January 2, 2013.

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

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