Its next-door neighbor to the east might declare “The Crossroads of America” title, but by almost any step, Illinois is the heart of the United States Interstate system. Illinois has the 3rd greatest overall of Interstate paths and mileage. Only New York and California have more I-designated roads, with 7- and 25-million more locals, respectively. Only Texas and California paths cover more mileage, though those states are 5- and 3-times bigger by area. And the significance of the paths– a number of which were developed to travel through or near Chicago, with its access to the international economy– more define the value of Illinois as a center of trans-U.S. travel. The 2 longest treks of the Interstate system, I-90 and I-80, go through Illinois on their coast-to-coast journeys. And 2 essential connections to the Gulf States, I-55 and I-65, reach their nadir in the Chicago area. Include I-57, I-64, I-70 and I-94 and an Illinois chauffeur can reach nearly every population center in the country by browsing one interchange.
” Illinois is at the heart of the nation’s interstate highway system,” the Illinois Department of Transportation boasts. That was not without intent: When the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was licensed in 1956, Illinois was the 4th most-populous state in the country (Texas and Florida jumped over Illinois in the rankings throughout the second-half of the 20th century). Illinois was an essential part of the financial structure of the nation: Its unlimited fields an important part of the food supply; its inland port a means for the Midwest commercial centers to reach the outside world; its trainyards the center by which the whole U.S. rail system ran around. It was natural, then, that the original Interstate plan launched in 1955 saw crucial arteries stem and go through Illinois, consisting of I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-74, I-80, I-90, and I-94. Illinois was sealing its place as the heart of the country’s roadways. As the Interstate system started to take shape, Illinois’ roadway spending plan started its long reach the contemporary $14.1 billion figure. Upkeep expenses swelled from $59.6 million to $128.1 million throughout the 1950s. A state commission suggested the development of IDOT, bringing the transport system, consisting of the interstates, under a single workplace in Springfield.
When IDOT formed in 1972, only I-64 stayed insufficient from the United States federal government’s original Interstate plan, and I-72, then covering from Champaign to Springfield, had been contributed to the state’s growing highway system. Throughout this fast shift of Illinois’s highway system, the bane of presence for commuters around the Chicago area originated: the Illinois Tollway. As the state had a hard time to complete contemporary highways throughout World War II, the very first tollway commission was developed, becoming the Illinois State Toll Highway Commission in 1953. The preliminary 3 interstates, finished by 1958– the Jane Addams, Tri-State and East-West Tollways– all were ultimately rolled into the Interstate system as the across the country spiderweb of superhighways started to take shape. Today, the re-christened Toll Authority has included I-355 and state Route 390 amongst the ranks of its administered roadways. By the early 1990s, most of the modern-day Illinois Interstate system was complete. As the USDOT prepared additional highways in the 1960s and 1970s to complete spaces in between anchor roadways of the original 1956 decree, Illinois set pavement over its huge farmlands. I-24 was finished in the south of the state, and the state’s part of I-64 was finished in 1974. State Route 5, the original name of the East-West Tollway, saw a re-designation to I-88 in 1987 as Illinois looked for to raise the speed limit on the path linking Chicago to the Quad Cities.
With that, I-39 saw its very first section change the existing U.S. 51 from U.S. 20 outside Rockford to Rochelle. While IDOT had asked for I-39 to extend from the Wisconsin border to Marion County, the length of the proposed highway was reduced through a variety of modifications, with the last path ending at Bloomington. U.S. 51 was updated through to Decatur as part of the overhaul. Since the conclusion of I-39 in 1992, Illinois has seen only one new Interstate: the 9/10ths of a mile I-41 in Lake County. That highway happened as a construct of the Wisconsin DOT re-purposing U.S. 41, from the north residential areas of Chicago to Green Bay, into an Interstate of its own. Its quick stint in Illinois sees it paired with I-94 as it crosses the state line. All informed, 24 paths– 13 main and 11 secondaries– make up the modern-day Illinois Interstate, covering some 2,500 miles. And while Indiana might continue to claim that “crossroads” crown, as Illinois commemorates 200 years– with almost 1,000 more miles of blue-and-red-signed highways than its eastern next-door neighbor– its citizens ought to know that it is still the real heart of America’s fascination with the highway.