Proposed Route 53 extension has long history

Updated 7/13/2019 12:41 AM

• 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 Route 53 from Addison to Arlington Heights.


• 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 Route 53 in Lake County.

• 1989: Route 53 extended north to Lake-Cook Road.

• 1998 to 2001: Extension 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 environmental and funding concerns.

• 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: Lake County leaders lobby for the extension. Rocco Zucchero, tollway deputy chief of planning, describes it as the best single project to relieve traffic congestion in the Chicago region.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

• 2010: Chicago regional planning group identifies Route 53 extension and Route 120 improvements as a priority 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: Blue ribbon council recommends Route 53 extension proceed as a boulevard-style tollway with extensive environmental safeguards.

• 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.

• 2015: State Sen. Terry Link and state Rep. Rita Mayfield, members of the blue ribbon advisory council and key backers of Route 53, withdraw their support, citing a departure from the guiding principals that rekindled the project.


• 2015: Tollway board votes to conduct an environmental impact study of extending Route 53 north.

• 2016: Then-Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who co-chaired the blue ribbon panel, withdraws his support.

• 2017: Tollway board approves a $25 million environmental impact study contract with CH2M Hill Inc. and Knight E/A Inc.

• July 2018: The first open house in what has been rebranded and expanded by the tollway as the Tri-County access project is held in Lakemoor.

• October 2018: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning removes Route 53 extension from its priority list.

• July 2019: Lake County Board revises its strategic plan, Illinois tollway halts environmental impact study -- effectively ending consideration of a Route 53 extension.

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

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.