News Release: Tollway Board Gives Green Light to Next Phase of Study for IL Rt. 53/120

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Lake County Banner / Standard

December 17, 2015

Tollway Board Gives Green Light to Next Phase of Study for IL Rt. 53/120

Today, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the IL Route 53/120 project. The move follows four years of diligent work by a broad group of government, business and environmental leaders in Lake County to advance the project, which had previously been stalled for decades.

An EIS includes a detailed study of alignment alternatives, environmental impacts, financial feasibility and a “no build” scenario. The EIS process will also include a robust public information and engagement program with multiple meetings and opportunities for public input. The EIS will be conducted in partnership with the Illinois Tollway, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Lake County Division of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.

“Over the last four years, a diverse group of leaders worked to develop an innovative vision for the IL Route 53/120 project that balances a desire for traffic congestion relief opportunities with a need for enhanced environmental and community protections,” said Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who serves as co-chair of the IL Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council.  “I want to thank the Tollway Board for approving an EIS for the IL Route 53/120 project and their commitment to further evaluate this project.”

In 2011, the Illinois Tollway reinitiated the project by convening the IL Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) and charged the panel with developing a plan that built consensus among local and regional stakeholders.  They recommended an innovative parkway with specific design and performance standards that reduce congestion, preserve the environment, and enhance connectivity. A Finance Committee and Land Use Committee also developed feasible financing options and land use strategies. Additionally, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning listed this project as a top priority in its regional master plan saying it would have the highest congestion reduction benefits and the largest economic impacts.

“We have moved this project further than ever before by building consensus among a broad group of leaders in support of a modern, innovative transportation system with strong standards that protect the environment. It is critical that the Tollway and IDOT use the BRAC recommendations as the intellectual framework for the IL Route 53/120 EIS,” Lawlor added.  

“Today is a giant step forward in advancing traffic congestion mitigation and economic growth for Lake County.  The IL Route 53/120 project also presents an opportunity to think differently about how we address transportation needs in sensitive environmental areas,” Illinois Tollway Director and Lake County Board Member (Dist. 17) Nick Sauer said.  “I am committed to ensuring the BRAC recommendations and performance standards are an integral part of the EIS.”

Visit for more information on the IL Route 53/120 project, including previous studies, letters of support, and project-related videos.


Contact: Jennie Vana
Communications Manager
Lake County Administrator's Office
Email Address:
Phone Number: 847.377.2154