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posted: 10/26/2014 8:00 AM

Proposed Route 53 extension has long history

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• 1962: A north-south link in Lake County first identified as part of a network of highways throughout the Chicago region in the "Metropolitan Transporation Plan."

• 1964 to 1970: Construction of existing Route 53 from Dundee Road to Lake-Cook Road.

• 1970 to 1990: Two environmental studies of the north extension initiated but discontinued based on "roadway priorities."

• Early 1970s: Illinois Department of Transportation begins buying property for the proposed route.

• 1998 to 2001: Extension was among alternatives to ease traffic congestion in the Lake County Transportation Improvement Project, a joint effort by IDOT and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. A detailed study didn't advance because of concern over the effect on natural resources, the lack of a funding plan and a lack of consensus.

• 2006: Lake County officials establish Route 120 corridor planning council, which determined a four-lane boulevard as preferred design. Further study stalled by lack of funding.

• 2009: Three-quarters of votes in an advisory referendum supported the extension; about 21 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

• 2010: Tollway restarts planning efforts on several projects. Lake County leaders lobby for the extension. Rocco Zucchero, tollway deputy chief of planning, described it as the best single project to relieve traffic congestion in the Chicago region.

• 2010: Chicago regional planning group identifies Route 53 extension and Route 120 improvements as priority project in its long-range GO TO 2040 regional plan.

• 2011: Tollway authority includes planning for Route 53 extension in a proposed $12 billion batch of projects. The agency designated $126 million for studies of Route 53 and the Illiana Expressway, and appointed a blue ribbon advisory council.

• 2012: Council concludes there is consensus for tollway to move forward on the condition that design principals, alignments and environmental commitments in its report are followed.

• 2013: Finance and land use committees created to formulate recommendations to determine whether the tollway should continue to pursue the project.

• 2014: Finance committee assembles list of recommendations to be considered by tollway officials.

Sources: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning; Illinois Toll Highway Authority; Daily Herald reporting

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