What is it?

Three tracks for reaching a sound and informed decision

The Tri-County Access Project is a comprehensive regional study that was created to identify potential environmentally and fiscally responsible solutions to regional traffic congestion in Lake, northern Cook and eastern McHenry counties.

Traffic congestion is a quality of life issue in Lake, northern Cook and eastern McHenry counties. While the region’s population and employment centers continue to grow, its transportation network has not kept pace. As a result, residents, visitors and commuters face daily gridlock and unpredictable travel conditions, spending valuable time getting from place-to-place instead of with their families, or doing other things that they enjoy.

While various transportation alternatives have been studied and discussed over the years – including the extension of Illinois Route 53 and improvements along Illinois Route 120 – involved local, state and federal transportation agencies have never reached a formal decision on the appropriate solution.  It is estimated that if transportation challenges are not addressed, the average peak travel period speeds on many arterial roads within the study area will drop to around 25 miles per hour by 2050.

Led by the Federal Highway Administration and jointly sponsored by the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Tri-County Access Project brings together stakeholders from 85 communities to determine how best to move forward, examining all reasonable alternatives to potentially address traffic congestion in the study area. The study process will follow state and federal requirements meant to integrate environmental values and public interaction into future transportation improvements, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Tollway, FHWA, and IDOT will complete an environmental study for the Tri-County Access Project in compliance with NEPA requirements, resulting in an Environmental Impact Statement. This study is the mechanism through which a decision on how to address the regions’ transportation needs will be reached.

The project’s expansive public involvement program is designed to encourage maximum input from agencies, transportation and planning organizations, businesses, civic groups – and all who live, work and visit the region.