Why is the Illiana needed?
Given its central location in the nation, the northwest Indiana and northeastern Illinois region is essentially the crossroads of America and is therefore heavily utilized by three sectors of travel: roadways, rail, and air. Due to this, our region is a national link to transportation and commerce which creates heavy use of our highways. In this role as a commerce hub, the region is seeing the emergence of large inland ports for intermodal transfer and logistics. The distribution in and out of these ports is spread across the region’s highways and local roads.
The region is also experiencing substantial growth in population and employment. Population in the Illiana study area is projected to grow by 175% and employment will increase 225%, creating high growth in work trips in the study area and on regional roads.
As these travel demands increase, the existing transportation network is unable to support the demand. Based on technical analysis, including growth trends, current and projected traffic, and stakeholder input, the three needs to be addressed by the project are improving regional mobility, alleviate local system congestion and improve local system mobility, and providing efficient movement of freight in the Study Area.