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
North end: IL 100 in Grafton
Counties: Alexander, Union, Jackson, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Madison, Jersey
Highway system
IL 2 IL 4

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

Route description[edit]

IL 3 has four lanes from Waterloo to Godfrey, with a brief six-lane stretch in Granite City around the River's Edge area (formerly the Army Depot of Granite City) and around Alton. It is two-laned the majority of the southern part from Waterloo to Mound City around the Shawnee National Forest Area. It briefly overlaps IL 111 at Alton, I-255 and US 50, and IL 127 north of Cache.

IL 3 parallels the Mississippi River for the entire length of its journey, and it carries the Illinois portion of the Great River Road for most of its length. South of St. Louis, I-55 is its parallel on the west side of the river, along with US 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.


Original 1918 route[edit]

The original IL  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 (US 67) was extended from St. Louis to Godfrey and replaced the original IL 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 like I-57, I-55, or I-39.

Current route[edit]

On August 4, 1976, the new Berm Highway from Wood River to Alton was opened.[3] It was signed as IL 3, which left the old alignment on Lewis and Clark Boulevard and Broadway unmarked. However, on June 29, 1987, the Illinois Department of Transportation (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 Boulevard (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]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi[2][6] km Exit Destinations Notes
Alexander Cairo 0.0 0.0
US 51 south / IL 37 north / Great River Road (National Route) south / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) south – Cairo, Mounds, National Cemetery
Southern end of US 51/Great River Road/Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
0.8 1.3 I-57 / US 51 north – Sikeston, MO, Mount Vernon Northern end of US 51 overlap; I-57 exit 1
  8.5 13.7 IL 127 north – Jonesboro, Mounds
McClure 26.0 41.8 IL 146 west – Cape Girardeau Southern end of IL 146 overlap
Union Ware 37.7 60.7 IL 146 east / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) spur – Jonesboro, Lincoln-Douglas Debate Site Northern end of IL 146 overlap
Jackson Grand Tower 51.3 82.6
Great River Road Spur north (Grand Tower Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park, Business District
  53.0 85.3
Great River Road Spur south (Power Plant Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park
  60.6 97.5 IL 149 east – Murphysboro, Carbondale, Lake Murphysboro State Park
  65.0 104.6 IL 151 north – Lake Kinkaid, Ava, Johnson Creek Recreational Area
Randolph   80.6 129.7
Great River Road (National Route) north (Truck Bypass) – River Bridge
Northern end of Great River Road overlap
Chester 83.4 134.2 IL 150 west (State Street) – River Bridge, Penitentiary Southern end of IL 150 overlap
83.6 134.5 IL 150 east (State Street) – Steeleville Northern end of IL 150 overlap
83.9 135.0
Great River Road Spur Evergreen Cemetery, Governor Bond State Memorial
Southern end of Great River Road spur
84.2 135.5 Great River Road south (River Bridge Spur/Truck Bypass) – River Bridge, Penitentiary Northern end of Great River Road spur overlap; southern end of Great River Road overlap
  89.8 144.5
Great River Road Spur (Shawneetown Trail) – Fort Kaskaskia Historic Site, Pierre Menard Home, Randolph County Conservation Area
Ruma 103.1 165.9
IL 155 west / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) north / Great River Road Spur – Prairie du Rocher, Fort de Chartres Historic Site, River Ferry
Northern end of Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
Red Bud 108.6 174.8 IL 154 east (Market Street) / IL 159 north (Main Street) – Belleville, Sparta
Monroe Waterloo 122.2 196.7 IL 156 (Park Street) – Fairgrounds, Hartburg, Maeystown, Valmeyer
Columbia 129.5 208.4 IL 158 east – Belleville Interchange
133.1 214.2 Quarry Road/Palmer Road Interchange; southern end of freeway
134.3 216.1 6 I-255 south / US 50 west (J.B. Bridge) – St. Louis County, Memphis, Tulsa Southern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; IL 3
St. Clair Dupo 136.5 219.7 9 Dupo
137.4 221.1 10 I-255 north / US 50 east – Chicago Northern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; IL 3 north follows exit 10
139.1 223.9 Stolle Road – Dupo, Martin Boismenue House Northern end of freeway
Cahokia 141.2 227.2 IL 157 north (Camp Jackson Road) – Jarrot Mansion, Holy Family Church
East St. Louis 143.7 231.3 Eighth Street Southern end of freeway
144.2 232.1 1 I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west to I-70 west – St. Louis Southern end of I-55/I-64/US 40 overlap
144.8 233.0 13th Street/Tudor Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
144.8 233.0 Barack Obama Avenue – East St. Louis Business District Northbound exit and southbound entrance
145.7 234.5 2A Third Street – Eads Bridge Southbound exit and northbound entrance
146.0 235.0 2B–C M.L. King Bridge – Downtown St. Louis Southbound exit and northbound entrance
146.2 235.3 3 I-55 north / I-70 east / US 40 east / Great River Road north – Chicago, Indianapolis Northern end of I-55/US 40/Great River Road overlap
146.8 236.3 4 I-64 east – Louisville Northern end of I-64 overlap
Madison Venice 151.1 243.2 McKinley Bridge – St. Louis
Granite City 158.4 254.9 Historic US 66 east (Chain of Rocks Road) Southern end of Historic US 66 overlap
158.6 255.2 I-270 / Great River Road south / Historic US 66 west – St. Charles, Effingham Southern end of Great River Road overlap; exit 3 on I-270; northern end of Historic US 66 overlap
Hartford 161.6 260.1
Great River Road Spur (New Poag Road) / Meeting of the Great Rivers – Lewis and Clark Historic Site, SIUE Campus
Southern end of Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap
Wood River 165.6 266.5 IL 143 / Great River Road north / Meeting of the Great Rivers north – Alton Riverfront, Alton, Wood River, Business District Northern end of Great River Road/Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap
Alton 169.3 272.5 IL 111 south / IL 140 (College Avenue) – Bethalto Interchange; southern end of IL 111 overlap
Godfrey 173.0 278.4 IL 111 north (Godfrey Road) to US 67 / State Street – Clark Bridge, Lewis and Clark Community College, Jacksonville Northern end of IL 111 overlap
Jersey   182.0 292.9 IL 109 north – Jerseyville
Grafton 190.0 305.8 IL 100 / Great River Road / Meeting of the Great Rivers
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ Carlson, Rick (March 15, 2006). "Routes 1 through 20". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved March 24, 2006. [self-published source].
  2. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  3. ^ Alton Telegraph. August 4, 1976.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  4. ^ Alton Telegraph. June 30, 1987.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  5. ^ Alton Telegraph. November 26, 1987.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Google Maps estimate[full citation needed]

External links[edit]