U.S. Route 20 in Illinois

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U.S. Route 20 (US 20) in the U.S. state of Illinois is a major arterial highway that runs from the Iowa state line at East Dubuque at the northwestern tip of Illinois, to the Indiana state line at Chicago south of the Chicago Skyway, a distance of The time allocated for running scripts has expired..[1] For its entire length, US 20 is designated as the General Ulysses S. Grant Highway, often abbreviated the U.S. Grant Memorial Highway. However, this name is only commonly used west of Elgin. From Elgin to Melrose Park, US 20 follows Lake Street. It then follows Mannheim Road, and further south La Grange Road. US 20 also follows 95th Street as it turns east through Chicago's southwestern suburbs. It ultimately leaves Illinois on Indianapolis Boulevard.

Route description[edit]

Northwest Illinois[edit]

The US 20/IL 84 bridge over the Galena River in Galena

As the highway enters Illinois across the Julien Dubuque Bridge, it continues southeasterly for a while, paralleling the Upper Mississippi River before turning east into the rugged country of the Driftless Area in Jo Daviess County, then turning flat and straight west of Stockton, Illinois and entering Stephenson County. The Ulysses S. Grant Home, a national landmark, fronts near the highway at the eastern edge of Galena, Illinois.

The road between Dubuque and Stockton was once known as the most dangerous stretch of road because of the hills and curves flanked by cliffs and valleys. Travelers were greeted with signs reminding them to drive carefully as they entered this stretch of road.

In Freeport, US 20 is routed onto a limited-access freeway bypass. Between Freeport and Rockford there are two traffic light-controlled intersections. The Rockford bypass routes US 20 onto a full limited-access freeway; it remains this way until it overlaps I-39 southeast of downtown Rockford.

Rockford to Elgin[edit]

East of Rockford, the routing of US 20 runs parallel with I-90; US 20 serves minor cities that are not accessible from the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. It is a four-lane divided highway from I-39 to just east of Belvidere; for the rest of this segment, it is a winding, rural two-lane road.

US 20 travels through the downtowns of the small towns and unincorporated areas of Garden Prairie, Harmony and Starks, as well as the city of Marengo. At Starks, eastbound US 20 overlaps southbound Illinois Route 47 and westbound Illinois Route 72, forming a wrong-way concurrency. All three routes pass beneath a railroad viaduct before separating south of Starks.

Continuing east, US 20 travels through Pingree Grove before entering the Elgin area. Before entering Elgin, US 20 widens to a four lane limited-access freeway that bypasses Elgin, around the town's south end. This road is known as the Elgin Bypass.

Elgin to Indiana[edit]

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Markers for the original Ulysses S. Grant Highway on Old Lake Street in Bartlett

At the end of the Elgin bypass, US 20 takes on the name of Lake Street. US 20 has numerous high-volume intersections, including a grade-separated interchange with Illinois Route 59. In Hanover Park, an early-2000s reconstruction project widened lanes on the road and created a median for safer travel; east of Barrington Road / County Farm Road, the road briefly becomes six lanes for one mile (1.6 km) until the Elgin–O'Hare Expressway.

US 20 continues in an east-southeast direction through the town center of Bloomingdale and becomes six lanes at the Bloomingdale-Roselle border. It maintains six lanes through a very high traffic corridor to Interstate 290 and onwards to Illinois Route 53 before it returns to four lanes while serving downtown Addison, paralleling Interstate 290 to the north. Past Elmhurst, the road overlaps Interstate 290 for a mile.

US 20 continues through Stone Park and Melrose Park before turning south and joining U.S. Routes 12/45. At this point, US 20 becomes Mannheim Road, and later, La Grange Road, until it turns onto 95th Street eastbound with U.S. 12. This combination later joins with U.S. Route 41, where the three routes follow Ewing Avenue and Indianapolis Boulevard, which are the last portions of US 20 prior to its crossing the state line into Indiana.

History[edit]

The routing of US 20 has not changed since 1938. Prior to 1938, US 20 continued east on Lake Street east of Mannheim Road (US 12/US 45). It ran through downtown Chicago and exited Chicago south on what is now Torrence Avenue.[2] In 1955, the Illinois General Assembly designated the entire length of US 20 in Illinois the "U.S. Grant Memorial Highway". New signs were produced in late 2007 to reflect this designation along its entire length.[3]

Future[edit]

Long-range plans call for US 20 to be upgraded to a full four-lane highway from Rockford to the Iowa border near Dubuque. The project dates back to the 1970s, when a major supplemental freeway system was proposed in Illinois. One of the routes, FAP 401, was a freeway that was to run across northwestern Illinois from Rockford to Dubuque.[4] Portions of the freeway were built in the form of bypasses around Rockford and Freeport, while a four-lane divided expressway was built between those two cities. In addition, a four lane divided expressway was constructed between Galena and East Dubuque.

A freeway between Freeport and Galena has been proposed. The new roadway would run from an interchange with IL 84, northwest of Galena, to an interchange on the western end of the previously constructed Freeport bypass.[5] However, funding is the biggest obstacle to constructing the roadway, estimated at over $1 billion.[6] Only the Galena bypass segment has received any funding beyond Phase I, and no segment has received any construction funding.[7]

This would complete the last remaining section of US 20 in northwestern Illinois not upgraded to four lanes. Upon the completion of this project and construction a new four lane bridge over the Mississippi River, US 20 will be a continuous four lane divided highway between Rockford and Interstate 35 in Iowa.

Major intersections[edit]

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Business routes[edit]

The time allocated for running scripts has expired. US 20 has been rerouted around the cities of Freeport, Rockford, Elgin and Chicago. A bypass is currently planned for Galena.

The longest Business US 20 in Illinois runs The time allocated for running scripts has expired. from just west of Rockford to just east of Belvidere. The route begins just west of Weldon Road and runs as State Street into downtown Rockford, where it is split into two one-way streets (Chestnut Street and Walnut Street for eastbound traffic, Jefferson Street for westbound traffic). The route continues east along State Street all the way through Rockford and becomes a two-lane highway between Rockford and Belvidere. Business US 20 is then routed in an outer loop around the city of Belvidere before merging back with US 20 near Genoa Road and I-90.

Business US 20 in Elgin was removed in 1984. This ran along Larkin Avenue, Highland Avenue, Chicago Street and Villa Avenue. The current routing of US 20 south of Elgin is called the Elgin Bypass.

Business US 20 in Chicago was removed in 1968. This existed from 1960 through 1968; before then, it was City US 20 from 1938 to 1960.[2]

See also[edit]

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References[edit]

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U.S. Route 20
Previous state:
Iowa
Illinois Next state:
Indiana