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updated: 1/31/2011 5:50 PM

Route 110 designation for Chicago to Kansas City expressway

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"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come. Well I might take a train. I might take a plane. But if I have to walk I'm gonna get there just the same."

But why walk, take a plane or train when you can hop on the 325-mile Chicago-Kansas City Expressway (C-KC). The portion that runs through Illinois is designated as Route 110.

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Reader Mike from Addison called to ask What's up with the "Illinois 110" signs appearing on the Eisenhower?

Good question. It turns out I-110 is "a unified corridor of commerce between two of the major commercial and tourism centers in the Midwest."

That's according to a May 25 resolution in the General Assembly, which set the wheels in motion for a signage spree from Chicago to the Quad Cities to the Missouri border. All in all, 470 I-110 (C-KC) signs will be erected at a cost of $94,000, Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said.

Backers of I-110 in Missouri and Illinois hope drawing attention to the corridor will aid travelers and spur economic development downstate.

How does the route work? It's a no-brainer.

From the city, jump on the Eisenhower, merge onto I-88, left on I-80, turn onto I-74 south, then at Galesburg take U.S. Route 34. Now, when you get to Monmouth, switch over to U.S. Route 67 but look out for Macomb because you'll want to get on Route 336 there. Around Quincy, there's a huge statue of a cow eating an ear of corn, which means I-172 is close. (OK, I made up the statue part.) From I-172 it's a short skip to I-72. Get on I-72. Cross the Mississippi River. Find I-36, take it to I-35, and you're there. Piece of cake.

• Meanwhile, Mark from St. Charles is curious about new mile markers on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90). The mileage posted is significantly different from the old numbers, he said.

Mark, you are correct. The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is updating its mile markers to reflect national standards where numbering starts at a state border.

That means the Wisconsin border and I-90 is zero and miles increase eastward until the Jane Addams meets the Kennedy Expressway, tollway spokeswoman Joelle McGinnis said. It's the opposite of the current system.

"When the Tri-State and Jane Addams were built in the 1950s, there were no numbering conventions," she said.

The new mile markers, which cost $125 each, go into effect this week.

• And reader Phil Crusius of Arlington Heights offered a rebuttal to my whirlwind tour of tollway oases.

"An oasis is not a destination, but a necessary stop along the way," he wrote. "Nobody expects a local rib joint at an oasis.

Travelers are from all over the country and looking for a place they can trust, like a national chain with a good reputation.

Besides the food, clean bathrooms are most important, and that is hit and miss at a local place. The oases do that well.

Travelers are not looking to see the countryside and sample local food. Those people would be on Route 66 (or U.S. Routes 12 or 14), not an interstate.

Before the food courts, the single Wendy's or McDonald's (or Howard Johnson's earlier) at oases were terrible. With renovation and competition, they are clean and welcoming.

Try the Ohio turnpike if you want to see a rest stop at its worst."

Flotsam and jetsam

• The Milwaukee Avenue interchange with the Tri-State closes this week for reconstruction. The Grand Avenue interchange is the recommended alternative. Work ends in November.

• The Chicago Transit Authority is seeking proposals from tech companies to revolutionize how riders pay. The open fare system would allow the use of contactless credit or debit cards, officials said last week.

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