Interstate 55 in Illinois

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Interstate 55 marker

Interstate 55
I-55 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length294.38 mi[1] (473.76 km)
Major junctions
South end I-55 / I-64 / US 40 at East St. Louis
North end US 41 in Chicago
CountiesSt. Clair, Madison, Macoupin, Montgomery, Sangamon, Logan, McLean, Livingston, Grundy, Will, DuPage, Cook
Highway system
IL 54IL 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 enters the state from Missouri on the Poplar Street Bridge near East St. Louis and runs to U.S. Route 41 (US 41, Lake Shore Drive) near downtown Chicago where the highway ends, a distance of 294.38 miles (473.76 km).[2] The Road also runs through the cities of Springfield, Bloomington, and Joliet. The section in DuPage County is officially named Joliet Freeway or Will Rogers Freeway and 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.


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 frontage 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]

In 2017, the Illinois General Assembly voted to rename approximately 70 miles (110 km) of I-55 from the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to Pontiac in honor of Barack Obama.[12][13]

Recent upgrades and current construction[edit]

Because of the heavy traffic on I-55, IDOT spends millions of dollars per year maintaining the roadway, adding lanes, and replacing bridges to increase the capacity of the highway.[14][15]

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.[16]

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.[17][18]

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.[19][20]


Governor Bruce Rauner, in early 2016, made a proposal to explore expanding the Stevenson Expressway portion of I-55 by adding an additional lane in each direction to ease congestion. Under his proposal, toll lanes would be constructed and operated through a potential private-public partnership.[21]

Exit list[edit]

Mississippi River0.000.00 I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west – Kansas City, Memphis, TulsaContinuation into Missouri
Poplar Street Bridge
St. ClairEast St. Louis IL 3 south / Great River Road south – Cahokia, SaugetSouthern end of IL 3/GRR concurrency
Tudor Avenue
1 IL 15 (Barack Obama Avenue) / 13th Street, Tudor Avenue – East St. Louis Business DistrictNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
2AThird Street – Eads BridgeSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
2BCMartin Luther King Bridge – Downtown St. LouisSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; left exit is signed as exit 2B and right exit as 2C
3A I-64 east / IL 3 north to St. Clair Avenue – LouisvilleNorthern end of I-64/IL 3 concurrency
3B I-70 west – St. Louis, Kansas CitySouthern end of I-70 concurrency; southbound exit and northbound entrance
3CExchange AvenueSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Madison4 IL 203 / Collinsville Road – Fairmont City, Granite City, MadisonSigned as exits 4A (south) and 4B (north) southbound
Fairmont City6 IL 111 / Great River Road north – Wood River, Washington ParkNorthern end of GRR concurrency
Collinsville9Black LaneNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
10 I-255 to I-270 – Memphis
11 Historic US 66 / IL 157 – Collinsville, Edwardsville
Maryville15 IL 159 – Collinsville, Maryville, Glen Carbon, EdwardsvilleSigned as exits 15A (south) and 15B (north)
Troy17 US 40 east – St. Jacob, HighlandNorthern end of US 40 concurrency
18 IL 162 – Troy
20A I-70 east – IndianapolisNorthern end of I-70 concurrency
20B Historic US 66 west / I-270 – Kansas City
Edwardsville23 IL 143 – Edwardsville, Marine
Hamel30 IL 140 – Alton, Greenville, Hamel
33 Historic US 66 / IL 4 – Staunton, Lebanon, Worden
Livingston37Livingston, New Douglas
White City44 IL 138 – Mount Olive, Benld, White City
MontgomeryLitchfield52 IL 16 – Gillespie, Litchfield, Hillsboro, Mattoon
60 IL 108 – Carlinville
63 IL 48 / IL 127 – Raymond, Taylorville, Hillsboro, Waggoner, Morrisonville
Farmersville72Farmersville, Girard, Waggoner, Morrisonville
SangamonDivernon80 Historic US 66 – Divernon
82 Historic US 66 / IL 104 – Pawnee, Auburn
Springfield88 Historic US 66 (East Lake Drive) – Chatham
90Toronto Road
92A Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. north (6th Street) – Springfield
92B I-72 west / US 36 west – JacksonvilleSouthern end of I-72/US 36 concurrency
94Stevenson Drive, East Lake Drive
96 IL 29 (South Grand Avenue) – Taylorville, RochesterSigned as exits 96A (south) and 96B (north)
98A I-72 east / US 36 east – Decatur, Champaign, UrbanaNorthern end of I-72/US 36 concurrency
98B IL 97 west (Clear Lake Avenue)
100 IL 54 east (Sangamon Avenue) – ClintonSigned as exits 100A (IL 54 east) and 100B (Sangamon Avenue)
Sherman105 Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. south to IL 4 (Veterans Parkway) – Springfield, Sherman
Williamsville109 Historic US 66 / IL 123 – Williamsville, Petersburg
LoganElkhart115Elkhart, Mount Pulaski
123 Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. north – Lincoln
Lincoln126 IL 10 / IL 121 – Lincoln, Mason City, Decatur
127 I-155 north – Peoria, HartsburgSouthern end of I-155, exit 0
133 Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. south – Lincoln, Lawndale
140Atlanta, Lawndale
McLean145 US 136 – McLean, Heyworth, Funks Grove
154Shirley, Funks Grove
157A I-74 east / US 51 south – Indianapolis, DecaturSouthern end of I-74/US 51 concurrency
Bloomington157B Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. north (Veterans Parkway)Signed as exit 134B (north) southbound
160 US 150 / IL 9 (Market Street) – Pekin
163 I-74 west – PeoriaNorthern end of I-74 concurrency
164 I-39 north / US 51 north – RockfordNorthern end of US 51 concurrency; southern terminus of I-39
US 51 Bus. – Bloomington, Normal
Signed as exits 165A (south) and 165B (north) northbound
167 Historic US 66 / I-55 Bus. south (Veterans Parkway) – Central Illinois Regional Airport
Chenoa187 US 24 – El Paso, Chenoa
Livingston197 IL 116 – Flanagan, Pontiac
201 IL 23 – Pontiac, Streator
Dwight217 IL 17 – Streator, Kankakee, Dwight
Grundy220 IL 47 – Dwight, Morris
227 Historic US 66 / IL 53 – Gardner
county line
233Reed Road – Braidwood
Will236 IL 113 to IL 129 – Kankakee, Coal City, Braidwood
238 IL 129 south (Will Rogers Highway) – BraidwoodNorthbound exit and entrance; northern terminus of IL 129
240Lorenzo Road
241North River Road – Wilmington
244 CR 17 east (Arsenal Road)
247 CR 77 west (Bluff Road)
Channahon248 US 6 – Joliet, Morris
250 I-80 – Iowa, IndianaI-80 exit 126; signed as exits 250A (east) & 250B (west)
Shorewood251 IL 59 north (Cottage Street) / Historic US 66 alt. (Will Rogers Highway) – Shorewood, PlainfieldNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
city line
253 US 52 (Jefferson Street) – Joliet, Shorewood
city line
257 US 30 / Lincoln Highway (Plainfield Road) – Aurora, Joliet
Plainfield261 IL 126 west (Will Rogers Highway, Main Street) / Historic US 66 alt. – PlainfieldSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
city line
263 CR 88 (Weber Road) – Romeoville
Bolingbrook267 IL 53 (Bolingbrook Drive) – Bolingbrook, Romeoville
268 Historic US 66 west (Will Rogers Highway, Joliet Road) – RomeovilleSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; Southern terminus of Joliet Freeway
I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) – Northwest Suburbs, Southwest Suburbs
I-355 exit 12
DuPageDarien271 CR 9 (Lemont Road)Signed as exits 271A (south) and 271B (north)
273 CR 15 (Cass Avenue)Signed as exits 273A (south) and 273B (north)
WillowbrookBurr Ridge
city line
274 IL 83 (Kingery Highway)
county line
Burr Ridge276.43444.87276County Line RoadSigned as exits 276A (south) and 276B (north)
CookIndian Head Park277.08445.92276C Historic US 66 east (Will Rogers Highway/Joliet Road)Northbound exit and southbound entrance; Northeastern terminus of Joliet Freeway; Southwestern terminus of Stevenson Expressway
Indian Head ParkCountryside
city line
I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana, Wisconsin
Signed as exits 277A (north) and 277B (south); no southbound exit to I-294 south
city line
278.99448.99279 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (La Grange Road)Signed as exits 279A (east/south) and 279B (west/north)
Summit282.32454.35282 IL 171 (1st Avenue)Signed as exits 282A (south) and 282B (north) northbound
city line
283.19455.75283 IL 43 (Harlem Avenue (7200 West))
Chicago285.93460.16285Central Avenue (5600 West)
286.96461.82286 IL 50 (Cicero Avenue (4800 West)) – Chicago Midway Airport
287.98463.46287Pulaski Road (4000 West)
289.00465.10288Kedzie Avenue (3200 West)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
289.52465.94289California Avenue (2800 West)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
290Damen Avenue (2000 West)
290Ashland Avenue (1600 West)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
292.63470.94292 I-90 / I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana, WisconsinSigned as exits 292A (west) and 292B (east) northbound, and as exits 292 (west) and 293B (east) southbound
293.00471.54293ACermak Road – Chinatown (2200 South)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
293.22471.89293CState Street (0 East/West)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
293.67472.62293DMartin L. King Drive (400 East)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
294.38473.76 US 41 (Lake Shore Drive)Northern end of freeway; Northeastern terminus of Stevenson Expressway; 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

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.[23]

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

Major junctions
The entire route is in Sangamon County.

I-55 / I-72 / US 36 – Jacksonville, Decatur, Chicago, St. LouisExit 92A (I-55), Exit 97B (I-72)
4.97.9 IL 97 north (Jefferson Street)
5.08.0 IL 97 south (Madison Street)
7.011.3 IL 29 (Sangamon Avenue)Southern end of IL 29 concurrency
8.012.9 IL 4 south / IL 29 north (Veterans Parkway) – Abraham Lincoln Capital AirportNorthern end of IL 29 concurrency, northern terminus of IL 4
Sherman12.119.5 IL 124 west (Andrew Road) – Andrew, AthensEastern terminus of IL 124
12.720.4 I-55 south – SpringfieldExit 105 (I-55), no access to I-55 northbound from this point
Williams Township13.922.4 I-55 north – ChicagoOnly access to I-55 northbound
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Lincoln business loop[edit]

Interstate 55 Business

The Lincoln business route services the downtown of Lincoln, Illinois. It begins southwest of Lincoln and follows the former US 66 to Fifth Street. It then turns east on Fifth Street, southeast on Clinton Street, and northeast on Kickapoo Street at the city's center. The route continues northeast to rejoin the former routing of US 66 northeast of town near the Logan County Airport, at which point it continues along that route to end at I-55 further northeast of Lincoln.

Bloomington–Normal business loop[edit]

Interstate 55 Business

The routing of the Bloomington-Normal business loop is known for its entire length as Veterans Parkway. It is a divided, limited-access highway bypassing the Bloomington-Normal area to the south and east. The route's north-south portion largely passes through a retail core, including Eastland Mall and The Shoppes at College Hills.

Major junctions
The entire route is in McLean County.

Bloomington I-55 / I-74 / US 51 – Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Rockford, Joliet, PeoriaExit 157 on I-55; exit 134 on westbound I-75
Historic US 66 west (Hamilton Road)Western end of Historic Route 66 concurrency

US 51 Bus. (Main Street) / Historic US 66 east
Diamond interchange, eastern end of Historic US 66 concurrency
US 150
IL 9 (Empire Street) – Pekin, Gibson City
Normal Historic US 66 (Shelbourne Drive) – NormalSouthbound exit only
I-55 – Joliet, SpringfieldI-55 exit 167; road continues to the north as Pipeline Road
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  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. ^ MapPoint (Map). Microsoft. 2002.
  3. ^ 2011 Average Daily Total Traffic (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Cartography by Office of Planning and Programming. Illinois Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "I-55". Illinois Highway Ends. Self-published. Retrieved January 28, 2013.[unreliable source]
  5. ^ Illinois Official Auto Trails Map (Map). c. 1:950,000 and c. 1:1,110,000. Illinois Automobile Department. 1924. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). 1:805,000. Cartography by H.M. Gousha. Illinois Division of Highways. 1957. 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 Official Highway Map (Map). 1:790,000. Cartography by H.M. Gousha. Illinois Division of Highways. 1960. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  9. ^ Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). 1:772,500. Cartography by Rand McNally. Illinois Division of Highways. 1969. 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. ^ "Section of I-55 to Be Named After Former President Obama". Chicago: WLS-TV. July 4, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  13. ^ Malagon, Elvia (July 3, 2018). "Why There Was No Pomp, Circumstance or Former President When Obama Expressway Signs Went Up on I-55". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  14. ^ "I-55 Resurfacing Work". The Herald News. Joliet, IL. May 24, 2002.
  15. ^ Cain, Cindy Wojdyla (April 22, 2005). "Interstate Overhaul 55 and 80: 'Tight Cloverleaf' to Be Redone Starting in May". The Herald News. Joliet, IL.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "Southbound I-55 Ramp Closure in Wilmington" (PDF) (Press release). Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  18. ^ "I-55 Wilmington Study". Illinois Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "New Mississippi River Bridge Opens to Traffic". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 9, 2014.
  21. ^ "Gov. Rauner Pushes to Develop Toll Lanes on I-55". Chicago: WMAQ-TV. February 4, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  22. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  23. ^ General Highway Map: Sangamon County, Illinois (PDF) (Map). Illinois Department of Transportation. February 20, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  24. ^ Google (January 2, 2013). "Interstate 55 Business (Springfield)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 2, 2013.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
Interstate 55
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