Ronald Lanz of Land Visions facilitates discussion at the kickoff meeting
Representatives from towns, the county, state, transit and intergovernmental organizations met Oct. 10, 2012, to kickoff land use and economic development planning of the area surrounding the new I-294/I-57 interchange.
The project’s steering committee included representatives from Dixmoor, Harvey, Markham, Midlothian and Posen as well as South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA), Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC), Cook County, IDOT, Illinois Tollway, RTA and Pace.
A consultant team – led by Land Vision and including Baxter and Woodman, TranSystems and Business Districts, Inc. – will analyze and provide recommendations for improving corridors and sites in the study area. This land use and economic development planning project is being undertaken through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. CMAP is able to provide this assistance through a federal grant at no cost to any of the five communities.
The I-294 and I-57 interchange is one of the major transportation capital projects recommended in the Chicago region’s “GO TO 2040” comprehensive plan. The $719 million capital project is now under construction and expected to be completed by 2014. It is funded through a January 2012 toll increase. The current intersection of I-294 and I-57 is one of the only points in the nation where interstates cross, but do not connect.
The interchange was first proposed in 1993 to relieve pressure on the 163rd Street Toll Plaza and to accommodate a possible third airport in Peotone. But access, environmental, geometric, technical and groundwater studies along with years of I-294 road widening construction delayed the project for nearly two decades.
Major corridors surrounding the new interchange are Dixie Highway, Kedzie Avenue, 147th and 159th Streets. The impact of a new highway interchange on these corridors represents a unique opportunity for Midlothian, Dixmoor, Harvey, Markham and Posen to plan together for land use and economic prosperity.