The proposed improvement is located approximately 50 miles west of the City of Chicago in southern Kane, Kendall and northern Grundy counties. This portion of the Chicago metropolitan region is undergoing major transformation, changing from a generally rural area to a more suburban environment with the coming of new residential, commercial, and industrial development. Between 1990 and 2000, there was 28 percent overall population growth for the six counties included in the Prairie Parkway study area. Will, Kendall, and Kane counties exhibited the largest increases in population at 40 percent, 38 percent, and 27 percent, respectively. These three Illinois counties were on the US Census Bureau's list of the 100 fastest growing counties in the United States between 2000 and 2005. Based on the absolute increase in population between April 2000 and July 2005, Will County is ranked 4th, Kane is 13th, and Kendall is 48th in the nation.
Population and employment in the six county Prairie Parkway study area are projected to approximately double from 2000 to 2030. Table 1 shows the forecast growth in population and employment for three counties traversed by the proposed facility.
|2000 Population||2030 Population||2000 Employment||2030 Employment|
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) evaluated a No Action Alternative together with two detailed build alternatives (B2 and B5). Alternative B5 with IL-47 widening shown in Figure 1 is the Preferred Alternative. The Preferred Alternative includes provisions for the inclusion of congestion management system improvements; freeway component between Interstate 80 (I-80) and Interstate 88 (I-88); and IL-47 widening component between I-80 and Caton Farm Road.
The Preferred Alternative freeway component (Alternative B5 with IL-47 Widening) will be 37 miles long. It will begin on its south end with a freeway-to-freeway interchange with I-80 west of Minooka. It will end on the north with a freeway-to-freeway interchange with I-88 near Kaneville. It will include five additional interchanges with US-52, IL-47, IL-71, US-34, and US-30 (on a new connector road) to provide access to the study area's road system. The freeway component of the Preferred Alternative will be four lanes (two lanes in each direction of travel) with a 63-foot-wide median that could accommodate transit or added highway lanes if needed in the future. The freeway component of the Preferred Alternative will cross 33 other roadways, 20 will be grade-Figure 1 - Prairie Parkway Preferred Alternative
separated (with the existing road passing over the Prairie Parkway at all grade-separations except for IL-71,US-34 and US-30) and 13 roads will be closed. At two of the road closures, frontage roads will be built to maintain local access.
The Preferred Alternative freeway will pass under seven ComEd electric power lines. It will pass over three railroads. The freeway will include new drainage structures at 30 major and 14 minor stream crossings, including seven with bridges. The Preferred Alternative freeway also will include 15 major and 14 minor stream crossings on existing and new roads that cross or intersect with the freeway, including five with bridges.
The IL-47 widening component of the Preferred Alternative will be 12 miles long. It will begin on its south end at I-80 and end on its north end at Caton Farm Road where it will connect to other planned or programmed IL-47 widening projects. IL-47 will be a four lane highway (two lanes in each direction) with a 32-foot-wide raised curb median and paved shoulders. Median openings and exclusive left-turn lanes will be provided at existing intersections.
Full control of access to adjoining properties is not planned on any section of the IL-47 improvement except for limited control of access at signalized intersections. The widening will replace existing drainage structures at nine major and one minor stream crossings, including two with bridges.