Gearing up for a “quick-take” approach to the land for the Illiana Expressway

The Illiana Expressway has been talked about for decades but now it looks like the government is determining how to acquire the land:

Compounding the fear for the couple and hundreds of others who live along or near the 47-mile corridor is legislation pending in the Illinois House that would give the state controversial “quick-take” power to acquire land for the project.

Quick-take allows local governments to act fast in seizing land for public projects, skipping the possibly lengthy legal proceedings under eminent domain condemnation.

Anxiety levels are sky-high among many farmers and homeowners who could be affected by the expressway that would connect Illinois and Indiana. Public meetings have been standing room only. Property owners in Lake County, Ind., and Will County have been flocking to an interactive map at to see whether their homes, businesses, backyards or back 40s are within the path.

“There’s no question property can be condemned for a highway. The state or whoever is going to get it,” said Dan Tarlock, a professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. “The question is how much the landowner is going to get paid. Quick-take is designed to take first and then fight about the money.”…

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, sponsored the quick-take legislation in the Senate, where it passed 44-8 on March 28. She said the measure is necessary to streamline the process so that ground can be broken for the Illiana by 2016…

Hutchinson, whose district includes much of the Illiana corridor, said the project is vital for job creation and economic development in southern Cook and northern Will counties.

This is a classic situation pitting the interests of the “greater good” versus individual property owners. The article also suggests there is little or no opposition to the project itself, rather the opposition is to how the land is seized. I wonder why the article doesn’t talk more about what prices landowners get for their property in the quick-take process compared to a more protracted process. Isn’t that what is at stake here?

Looking at the proposed routes for the expressway, who exactly is this supposed to serve? Here is the overview of the project:

Previous studies have indicated possible benefits for an east-west transportation corridor extending from I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana. These include providing an alternate route for motorists traveling the I-90/94 corridor, relieving traffic on the I-80 Borman/Kingery Expressway and U.S. 30, serving as a bypass for trucks around the congested metropolitan highways, providing access to one of the largest “inland port” intermodal freight areas in the U.S. and the proposed South Suburban Airport, supporting economic development in this area, and the potential for substantial job creation. Will County, IL was one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, adding 175,000 residents and increasing demand for additional transportation options.

This doesn’t seem aimed at the Chicago area really because a better route for the Chicago region might be to extend I-355 south and then loop it over to I-65. Is this primarily for warehouses in Will County so they can have easier access to both I-55 and I-65? Are there expectations for more suburban growth south of Chicago?

A reminder: some of funding for studying the Illiana Expressway was to come from the increased tolls on Chicago area highways.

3 thoughts on “Gearing up for a “quick-take” approach to the land for the Illiana Expressway

  1. This highway seems to be very much in the interest of Ridgeport Logistics Center. This highway ends at Ridgeports purposed facility in Wilmington and goes directly to I-65. It certainly fails to meet the requirements of being a bypass around Chicago as is being advertised, since the sale of the Indiana Tollway has prohibited it from being connected to I-80 anywhere near the section that was sold. This is truly a highway to know where, would be better if they called it the Ridgeport driveway to Indiana.

    Makes you wonder which of your elected officials have been purchased by Ridgeport?


  2. Is there an original offer the homeowners affected can accept with the quick take law? Or, does the state just take your home and then pay you whenever they feel like it? And, with Illinois being so broke, how can we depend on that?? Furthermore, housing prices are way down…..if the state pays fair market value and that does not cover what we owe, since the homes in my subdivision are newer and have healthy mortgages and home equity loans, what happens then?? As it is, most people are barely making ends meet now!! The government would sink us if they didn’t cover our current mortgages! I imagine, that is why they are rushing this…to get our properties at a steal and leave us BROKE with no where to go that we can afford! Because we are onl a select few……they don’t care or what?? The state shoulda have to have enough money to pay us replacement costs to rebuild….or forget the project! We are suffering thru the hard times knowing that our property prices should go back up and then sell!! If they make us sell now, they should pay replacement cost, not current market value….that would be robbery!! The state robs us enough as it is!! I do. I do not know how this can possibly be approved!!!!


  3. Pingback: The issues involved in solving the railroad traffic bottleneck in Chicago | Legally Sociable

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