Thursday, March 22, 2012

Illiana Corridor Meeting in Wilmington, Illinois

FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE: Illiana Tier Two Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Hearing February 19th, 2014 in Wilmington

JULY 2012 Update:Next Illiana Public Meeting: JULY 31, 2012, Peotone High School.

UPDATE: The Illiana Corridor Planning Team has proposed two additional corridors alternatives,one of which passes just south of Manhattan, Monee, and University Park, Illinois.  This A3S2 alignment, below in red, also passes north of Elwood, Illinois and Beecher, Illinois:

View Recommended Corridors A3S2, B3, B4 Interactive Map in a larger map

These 2 new corridors, along with the originally recommended B3, above in green, will be studied by the planning team.  The public may submit comments to the Illiana Planning Team here.

More than 300 area residents attended an informational meeting March 21, 2012 presented by the Illiana Corridor Planning Team at the Local 150 Training Center.  The Corridor Team held the meeting at the request of the Wilmington City Council.  The meeting was originally scheduled for the Wilmington City Hall but was moved to the training center to accommodate the crowd.

A large room was full of information and large maps detailing the B3 corridor.  Study team members from the State of Illinois and its consultants answered questions from property owners near the B3 corridor and showed property owners the location of the corridor on a highly-detailed GIS map.  That map is now available online after requests were made by the public to put it online at Illiana Corridor Public Meetings, said Steve Schilke, Project Manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation.  The new map is a very detailed satellite map that allows you to zoom in and out.

Asked what she had been hearing from her constituents about the B3 Corridor, Alder Darla Neises said people were "scared for their way of life.  Wilmington is one of the best places to live, raise a family, retire.  Our way of life is being threatened."  Neises went on to say, "I moved here because of the Mayberry lifestyle, I would like to see the Mayberry lifestyle protected."

The public view an Illiana Corridor map in Wilmington, Illinois

Donald Koester moved to Wilmington 16 years ago from near Midway Airport.  His first two weeks in his new home were sleepless since he was not used to the quiet.  His home sits near the B3 Corridor and the proposed Illiana Expressway.  "I moved here to get away from trucks,"  Koester stated.  Koester is concerned about noise and air pollution from the heavy truck traffic that would travel an Illiana Expressway.  Koester believes the Illiana should go North or South of Wilmington because as currently planned, the expressway "will kill Wilmington, it will kill that little town."   As for property owners now living in or near the B3, Koester stated, "Who is going to want to buy your house?  No one wants to buy a home with a big concrete structure with vehicles running over it."   As for farmers, Koester stated, "If you have a 160 acre farm, and the State goes through it and buys just what they need for the Expressway, what will that leave the farm with?"

Andrea Woodside, who lives on Kankakee Street, stated: "We're a Route 66 community, that's part of the charm, the quiet, this will kill it."

Edith Drobek stated: "Illinois is broke.  How are they going to pay for this?"

When asked what he thought about the B3, a Florence township farmer stated: "Bunch of BS."  He continued, "I think it should go through Midewin, our tax dollars already paid for it."  Another farmer added, "Who's paying for this?  The state's broke, the federal government's broke.  Tier 1 and Tier 2, we the taxpayers are paying for this while the state's broke."

Another farmer added, "Everywhere this road goes, it goes off the tax base, some of these townships can barely get by as is."  Another concluded, "They're just having this meeting to appease us."

Dick Rodawald said he "can't see having Peotone-Wilmington, Arsenal, and then going through such good farmland for this road.  They'll have 3 roads within a mile....I've never seen such dumb stuff."   Rodawald went on to say if Florence Township roads are closed as a result of the Illiana, it could be more difficult and costly for farmers to move their equipment from field to field.  Also, if a farmer's land is split in two, that will create a cost in terms of fuel to move equipment from one side of the road to the other, Rodawald said.

The Illiana Planning Team collected comment cards from the public and also held a question and answer session.  The Team stressed they are still taking the public's input regarding the location of the corridor and that there are several more public meetings scheduled.  To view all meeting dates, times, and locations, and to read info from the planning team, go to

-----I videotaped the Question and Answer session and will post those after I get that video processed and uploaded------