Why is the Study Needed?

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are initiating a Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study (Phase I Engineering) to analyze improving the east-west travel ways between the intersection of IL Route 3 and IL Route 146 and Interstate 57 in Alexander, Pulaski, and Union Counties. This study, referred to as the Shawnee Parkway, will take a detailed look at the transportation system within the study area to address the lack of east-west roadways, reduce travel times, improve traffic safety, and provide for economic opportunities.

Illinois Route 146 is currently the only east-west arterial roadway within the 350 square mile study area. There are other east-west roadways but they are county roadways with low-to-moderate-capacity. These roadways were not constructed to move people and freight at higher speeds and they are the site of frequent serious crashes (fatal and injury). Without an adequate east-west roadway, there is limited opportunity for economic development and access to jobs, adequate healthcare, and educational opportunities in this area.

What is the Scope of the Study?

The Shawnee Parkway study will analyze a range of roadway alternatives to address the needs of the study area. The alternative development process will be repetitious in nature, providing progressively greater detail in each step. Stakeholders will be provided several opportunities during the alternative development to provide input. It is anticipated that several study alternatives will be presented to be carried forward. The alternatives to be carried forward will be further developed to screen additional environmental and design issues. These issues will be summarized and presented to the stakeholders for their consideration, evaluation, and input on the final decision. The objective is to achieve consensus on a single preferred alternative.

The Phase I engineering aspect of the study will culminate with an environmental document, called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS will be prepared to analyze a full range of alternatives, including a no-build alternative, and will document potential effects to natural, community, and cultural resources.