IDOT defends Illiana Expressway project

The Illinois Department of Transportation is defending a proposed expressway linking Interstate 65 in northwestern Indiana with Interstate 55 in the South suburbs.

The move comes after a report raised questions about feasibility. IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider said Monday she doesn't agree with analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Gov. Pat Quinn also defended the proposed project Monday, telling reporters that it will relieve congestion.

Their comments come ahead of two votes on the project. The board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning votes Wednesday. The final vote to decide if everything goes forward is Oct. 17 by the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Indiana and Illinois could start construction on project as early as late 2014, but environmental groups have raised objections including impact to endangered wildlife.

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