The Illiana Corridor Tiered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being performed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to evaluate the need for future east-west transportation improvements between I-55 in Illinois and I-65 in Indiana in the northeast Illinois/northwest Indiana region. The Illiana Corridor study area is located approximately 50 miles south of the City of Chicago and is 950 square miles in size, encompassing southern Will County and northern Kankakee County in Illinois and southern Lake County in Indiana. The study area is on the fringe of the metropolitan area and is expected to see a doubling of population and employment by 2040.
The Illiana Corridor Study is combining the best features of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) policies by IDOT and INDOT. The heart of CSS is extensive and continuous partnerships with stakeholders in determining what kind of facility and where the facility will be located to solve the identified transportation problems. To facilitate the communication with study stakeholders, technology is being used in a number of areas to improve the visualization of alternatives. For example, to describe the geographic information system (GIS) approach being used for evaluating the Tier One EIS impacts to resource agencies, a fly-through video was prepared demonstrating the use of GIS and Google Earth®. For public meetings, hand-held tablet computers were used to locate residents’ houses and their location relative to the 2000-foot wide corridor and 400-foot wide working alignment within the corridor. Fly-through videos showing the environmental constraints and impacts relative to the corridor and working alignment were also developed for the public meetings. An interactive map was also placed on the project website, IllianaCorridor.org that displayed the alternative corridors on an aerial base map, allowing website visitor to zoom in on specific locations.
The use of technology has contributed to a robust public involvement program that included nearly 1,800 attendees at the Tier One DEIS public hearings, over 900 attendees at the two sets of public meetings, and over 110 stakeholder meetings.