Illinois Route 53

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Illinois Route 53 marker

Illinois Route 53
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length: 82.02 mi[2] (132.00 km)
Existed: 1924[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: I-55 in Gardner
North end: IL 83 in Long Grove
Counties: Grundy, Will, DuPage, Cook, Lake
Highway system
US 52 US 54

Illinois Route 53 (IL 53) is an arterial north–south state highway in northeast Illinois. IL 53 runs from Interstate 55 (I-55) west of historic U.S. Route 66 (US 66) in Gardner to IL 83 in Long Grove, a distance of 82.02 miles (132.00 km).[2] It mainly cuts through the western suburbs of Chicago, passes through Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Crest Hill and Joliet, merging into I-55 at Gardner.

Route description[edit]

US 66, IL 53, and the Illinois & Michigan Canal Passage concurrency in Joliet just south of Theodore Street
IL 53 north of the interchange with I-90

IL 53 is one of the few state highways routed along expressways in the state. Before it becomes an expressway, IL 53 starts out in Long Grove going southwest towards Palatine. South of Lake-Cook Road, IL 53 follows Hicks Road, Rand Road (concurrent with U.S. 12) and Dundee Road (concurrent with Illinois 68) through Palatine's northeast side before it joins an expressway that starts un-numbered (technically a spur of 53), one mile (1.6 km) north at Lake-Cook Rd as a bypass of northeast Palatine. The northeast Palatine stretch goes through the Rand and Dundee intersection, one of the country's deadliest intersections in traffic accidents.[citation needed] It forms the other half of the Interstate 290/IL 53 combination in Schaumburg before being routed west onto Biesterfield Road and back south onto Rohlwing Road. Until its first junction with I-55 by Bolingbrook, it remains a mostly 2 to 4 lane road, largely replaced by the I-290 and I-355 combo. In the suburb of Lombard, IL 53 is called Columbine Avenue.

South of the first junction with I-55, IL 53 follows the path of historic Route 66 in Illinois and parallels Interstate 55, entering downtown Joliet, which is about four miles (6 km) east of I-55. IL 53 also passes directly in front of Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. From Joliet it follows the original Route 66 alignment to the south. It remains a four-lane divided highway for about 15 miles (24 km), passing through Elwood and the former Joliet Arsenal, part of which is now the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Route 53 narrows to two lanes just outside Wilmington and crosses the Kankakee River in downtown Wilmington. It then continues southwest through Braidwood and Braceville on its way to Gardner, where it loops around the southern part of town before ending at I-55.


SBI Route 53 ran from Romeoville to Long Grove on Rohlwing Road and Hicks Road from 1924 to 1963. From 1963 through 1970, it was routed onto a new freeway from Addison to Arlington Heights and cosigned with I-90 until that was changed to I-290.[citation needed]

In 1967 IL 53 was extended to Gardner, and in 1995 IL 129 was routed onto IL 53 south of Braidwood. This lasted a year until IL 129 was dropped entirely south of Braidwood. Near the northern end, the freeway was extended from Dundee Road to Lake–Cook Road in 1989.[3]

In 1990, with the construction of I-355, IL 53 was moved off the I-290/I-355 combination south of Biesterfield Road and back onto its original alignment.[citation needed]

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) proposed in 1999 to widen IL 53 south of US 20 (Lake Street) and generally north of I-88 to a five-lane section. Opposition from a citizen group called NIFTI (Neighbors Influencing Fifty-Three improvement) began to lobby for a smaller expansion plan to three lanes. The road south of Lake Street runs through predominantly residential areas and light industry. The term context sensitive design and solutions was introduced to the state of Illinois through the efforts of this group.[citation needed]


Since the 1960s, Illinois 53 has been at the center of a major dispute regarding its northern extension (FAP 342) into Lake County. The studied corridor currently runs from the current terminus of the freeway at Lake–Cook Road north to a planned bypass for IL 120 near Grayslake.[4] FAP 342 road signs are posted on roads that would be crossed by the proposed extension, demarking the right-of-way (many villages have not allowed development in the proposed right-of-way). The combined IL 53/IL 120 extension would form a large T-shape in the center of Lake County, with the IL 120 bypass carrying through traffic from US 12 to the Tri-State Tollway around Gurnee.[5]

Additionally, a proposal was made to build a leg of the freeway from the end of the IL 120 bypass to the Wisconsin state line in Richmond. This route, known as the Richmond–Waukegan Expressway (FAP 420), would connect the Illinois 53 extension to the partial US 12 interchange in Genoa City, Wisconsin. From there, Wisconsin was to continue the freeway northwest along the US 12 corridor, linking up with I-39/90 just south of Madison. A portion of the freeway was built between Genoa City and Elkhorn in the 1970s, but further construction was stopped when the upgrades on the Illinois side ran into opposition.

Due to funding constraints with IDOT, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA) to plan and construct both the Illinois 53 extension and the Richmond-Waukegan Expressway in 1993.[6] The latter project has been dormant since the mid-1990s, mainly due to major environmental complications along the route (the proposed corridor would run through two sensitive conservation areas: Glacial Park and the Volo Bog).[7][8] While the project has not been officially cancelled, this leg of the highway will likely never be built due to the aforementioned environmental impacts. However, the Illinois Tollway has moved forward with the main Illinois 53 extension.

The extension has been opposed by several organizations, notably the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, and many residents of Long Grove, which lies in the path of the highway. The Sierra Club opposes the roadway extension because it would be routed through wetlands and the group has concerns about suburban sprawl and increased pollution.[9]

Proponents of the tollway argue that congestion in Lake County has already reached economically damaging levels, that the existing network of roads in the county is insufficient, and that future projections call for extensive sprawl to continue regardless of the presence of a new highway.[10] In an April 2009 non-binding referendum, registered voters in Lake County approved (76% yes to 24% no) the proposal to extend IL 53, with a 16% turnout rate.[11]

The extension is now proposed as a limited-speed (45 mph, 72 km/h) tolled parkway, and it is currently under study by the Illinois Route 53/120 planning council.[12][13]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi[14] km Destinations Notes
Grundy Gardner 0.0 0.0 I-55 – Bloomington, Joliet Southern terminus of IL 53; I-55 exit 227
Will Braidwood 8.8 14.2 IL 113 (Main Street)
Wilmington 13.4 21.6 IL 102 east (Water Street) Western terminus of IL 102
Joliet 28.5 45.9 US 52 east (Doris Avenue) Southern end of US 52 concurrency
28.9 46.5 I-80 – Indiana, Iowa I-80 exits 132A-B.
29.3 47.2 US 6 / US 52 west (McDonough Street) Northern end of US 52 concurrency; Southern end of US 6 concurrency
30.0 48.3 US 6 / US 30 east (Jefferson Street) Eastbound one-way; Northern end of US 6 concurrency
30.2 48.6 US 30 west (Cass Street) Westbound one-way
JolietCrest Hill
city line
32.1 51.7 IL 7 south (Theodore Street) Southern end of IL 7 concurrency
Crest Hill 35.1 56.5 IL 7 north (Renwick Road, 9th Street) Northern end of IL 7 concurrency
Bolingbrook 41.7 67.1 I-55 – Chicago, Joliet I-55 exit 267
DuPage Lisle 49.9 80.3 US 34 (Ogden Avenue)
50.5 81.3
I-88 east / IL 110 (CKC) (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) – Chicago
I-88 exit 130; westbound exit; eastbound entrance
Glen Ellyn 52.5 84.5 IL 56 (Butterfield Road)
54.5 87.7 IL 38 (Roosevelt Road)
Lombard 58.4 94.0 IL 64 (North Avenue)
Addison 61.6 99.1 US 20 (Lake Street)
Itasca 63.2 101.7 IL 19 (Irving Park Road)
64.2 103.3 IL 390 (Elgin O'Hare Tollway) IL 390 exit 11
Cook Elk Grove Village 65.6 105.6 I-290 east (Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway) – Chicago Southern end of I–290 concurrency; exit 4.
Schaumburg 68.4 110.1 IL 72 (Higgins Road)
69.4 111.7 IL 58 (Golf Road)
Rolling Meadows 69.9 112.5 I-90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) / I-290 – Chicago, Rockford Northern end of I–290 concurrency; western terminus of I–290
70.2 113.0 IL 62 (Algonquin Road)
71.6 115.2 Kirchoff Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
72.0 115.9 Euclid Avenue
Rolling MeadowsPalatine
village line
73.1 117.6 US 14 (Northwest Highway, Ronald Reagan Highway)
PalatineArlington Heights
village line
74.2 119.4 Palatine Road
75.5 121.5 US 12 (Rand Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
76.2 122.6 IL 68 (Dundee Road)
county line
77.4 124.6 Lake Cook Road Northern end of freeway; unnumbered spur of IL 53 north of IL 68 (Dundee Road)
Lake Long Grove 82.02 132.00 IL 83 (McHenry Road) Northern terminus of IL 53
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ Carlson, Rick (March 15, 2006). "Routes 41 thru 60". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved March 23, 2006. [self-published source]
  2. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  3. ^ Springfield Bureau (May 26, 1988). "Expressway Projects on the List for Chicago Area". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 25, 2008. 
  4. ^ Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Proposed Alignment for IL Route 53/120 North Extension (PDF) (Map). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Illinois 53 Extension Map". Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ Ibata, David. "Tollway Agency, IDOT to Share Planning for Illinois 53 Extension". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  7. ^ Spencer, LeAnn. "Activists Fear Illinois 53 Perils 2 Pristine Sites". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ Pelton, Tom. "Extension of Illinois 53 Shows Surprising Support". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Guide to Route 53 Extension (FAP 342)". Illinois Sierra Club. Retrieved April 11, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Home Page". Build 53 Now!. Retrieved April 11, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Illinois Route 53 Extension Referendum Results, April 7, 2009 Unofficial Results" (PDF). Lake County Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council". Archived from the original on September 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Crews, Julian. "Tollway board OKs $25M study for Route 53 extension plan". WGN. WGN. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  14. ^ Google (February 18, 2017). "Overview Map of IL 53" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata