Plans for the extension of Illinois Route 53/120 in Lake County are moving forward with the approval of funding for a Corridor Land Use and Transportation Plan that will be developed in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Lake County, and communities along the corridor to integrate land use, transportation, economic development, and open space.
CMAP approved the $940,000 project using funds from the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, state, and local sources.
In June 2012, the IL Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) recommended the new Route 53 be a four-lane "modern boulevard" with limited access and 45 mile-per-hour maximum operating speed. The Council recommended specific design elements, as well as other recommendations, including development of a coordinated corridor plan.
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said, "These funds are another positive step toward advancing IL Route 53. A coordinated, corridor-wide land use plan that is supported by all of our local governments was a clear objective from the Advisory Council. We will work jointly with our municipalities to develop a plan that aligns future growth with our communities' goals, as well as our residents' vision for the future."
As referenced in the advisory council's report, multi-billion dollar road infrastructure improvements facilitate mobility and stimulate economic and residential development, but also have significant secondary effects on the nearby communities. New roads can stimulate rapid and unplanned development, traffic can increase dramatically on ill-prepared existing roads, and sensitive ecological areas can be irreparably damaged. Coordinated planning efforts can ensure that adverse side effects are dramatically limited.
The Council recommended that the completed plan be adopted by Lake County and each municipality. CMAP will select the consultant to help manage the plan, and CMAP, Lake County and the municipalities will work cooperatively on its development. The group will also work closely with the Illinois Tollway, as it moves forward with a detailed feasibility study, as well the BRAC to ensure that the plan is consistent with the council's recommendations and guiding principles for IL Route 53.