CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Tina Orsi had two concerns as she looked at a map
showing a proposed route for a highway that would link Interstate 65 in
northwestern Indiana and Interstate 55 in Illinois south of Chicago.
“I don’t know what’s worse,” she said, surveying a map showing the proposed
route running right by her home. “Is it worse if I lose my house, or if I
have to live right next to it?”
Orsi was among about 500 people who attended a meeting Wednesday in Crown
Point to see maps of the proposed route for the Illiana Expressway. Many of
them, like Orsi, were concerned, The Times of Munster reports .
A question-and-answer session turned testy at Crown Point High School as
residents questioned how the route would impact their homes and communities.
Some shouted questions at members of an Indiana and Illinois task force that
prepared the maps.
“My main concern is just like when they built the Indiana Toll Road, they
went right over people’s homes in Hammond,” said Bob Jakubielski of Lowell.
“Is that what they will do with this?”
Another person wanted to know if the Illiana would change southern Lake
County into a clone of the urban areas to the north. Greg Kicinski, director
of project management for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said
that could be avoided with good land-use planning.
The task force disclosed two weeks ago a preliminary preferred route that
starts at Interstate 65 and runs between Lowell and Cedar Lake before
heading west to Wilmington, Ill., where it joins Interstate 55.
Kicinski assured those in the meeting Wednesday that the Illiana Corridor
Planning Group and Task Force members were there to hear residents’
“We still are listening as best we can and will make adjustments as best we
can,” he said.
The transportation agencies plan to hold a public hearing on a draft
environmental impact study of the recommended route in May or June. By late
fall or winter, they should be ready to submit the study in final form to
various state and federal agencies for review.