(Photo Courtesy of Karl Berner)
The Sycamore Room at Woodland Park in Portage was filled this morning as the NIRPC Executive Board and Full Commission used a weighted vote to decide the fate of the proposed Illiana Expressway and I-65 widening projects. The proposed projects would construct a 47-mile-long link between I-65 in Lake County and I-55 in Illinois, and also would widen I-65 from 4 lanes to 6 lanes between US 30 and Highway 231.
Using the weighted vote clause, The Commission voted roughly 76% to roughly 24% to include the projects in the NIRPC 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan.
The Illiana Expressway and I-65 widening projects have passed a major hurdle, and when INDOT finishes its Tier 2 Study, the fate of the proposed projects will lie with the Federal Highway Administration for final approval. If approved, ground for the projects should break in 2015, with the Illiana Expressway slated to open for travel some time in 2018.
To view video of today's vote click http://youtu.be/2wTLno8tYHA
After the Illiana vote, the NIRPC Board passed two resolutions, one in favor of continued state funding of the Regional Development Authority beyond 2015 and the other supporting the expansion of commuter rail in northwest Indiana. For more information on these resolutions, click http://www.rdatransformation.com/blog/nirpc-backs-rda-funding-renewal-and-south-shore-expansion/...