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Interstate 55 (Illinois)

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Subject: Interstate 355, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Roads and expressways in Chicago, Illinois Route 15
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Interstate 55 (Illinois)

This article is about the section of Interstate 55 in Illinois. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 55.

Interstate 55
;">Route information
Maintained by IDOT
;">Major junctions
South end: I-55 / I-64 / US 40 in East St. Louis
  I-64 / I-70 / IL 3 in East St. Louis
I-255 in Collinsville
I-70 / I-270 in Troy
I-72 / US 36 in Springfield
I-155 near Lincoln
I-74 in Bloomington
I-39 / US 51 in Normal
I-80 in Joliet
I-355 in Bolingbrook
I-294 in Indian Head Park
I-90 / I-94 in Chicago
North end: US 41 in Chicago
;">Highway system

Illinois state highway system
Illinois Tollway system

In the U.S. state of Illinois, Interstate 55 is a major north–south Interstate Highway that connects the St. Louis, Missouri and Chicago metropolitan areas. It runs from the Poplar Street Bridge in East St. Louis to U.S. Route 41 (Lake Shore Drive) near downtown Chicago. This is a distance of 294.38 miles (473.75 km).[1]

Route description

Interstate 55 within Illinois carries heavy traffic, with an average of more than 20,000 vehicles per day for most of its length.[2] Significant portions of Interstate 55 contain six lanes (3 lanes in each direction) and are heavily used by commuters.[3] I-55 in Illinois begins in East Saint Louis on the Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River at the Missouri-Illinois state line.[3] and runs southwest to northeast through the state, ending in Chicago at US Route 41 Lake Shore Drive. Along the way, it goes through four metropolitan areas in the state: the Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the Springfield metropolitan area, the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area, and the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as Chicagoland).[3]

I-55 enters Chicago as the Stevenson Expressway, and provides easy access to downtown Chicago via the I-90/I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) interchange, and via US 41 Lake Shore Drive at the northern terminus of I-55.


Interstate 55 in Illinois is the fourth road to connect St. Louis and Chicago. The first was the Pontiac Trail in 1915. This was largely improved and paved as the new Illinois Route 4 by 1924.[4] In 1926, IL 4 was designated as the route of the new US Route 66, and a new section of US 66 was built to bypass slower sections of IL 4 south of Springfield by 1930. Through the 1950s US 66 was continually widened, straightened, and improved to handle its growing traffic, until its entire length was four lanes wide by 1957.[5]

The roots of Interstate 55 could be traced back to the need of a national highway system.[6] President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the need of a national network of highways that would help with the mobilization of the army. He had been impressed with the autobahn he saw in Germany during World War II. In 1956 he signed the Federal Aid Highway Act into existence.[6] Although the act provided for a highway replacing Route 66, it was spared destruction for a while because of it being more modern than other routes at the time.[6] Illinois would build its first new Interstate highways on other routes such as Interstate 80, Interstate 57, and Interstate 70, before turning its attention once again to the St. Louis to Chicago route.

However during the 1970s, Route 66 was finally replaced by Interstate 55 as the fourth St. Louis to Chicago highway, serving most of the same communities along the way as the original Pontiac Trail. It was built in sections across Illinois, often on the original Route 66 roadbed. A common construction tactic where Route 66 was already four lanes wide, was to build new southbound lanes for I-55 west of the original road, then rebuild the original southbound lanes of US 66 to be the new northbound lanes for I-55, leaving the original northbound lanes of old US 66 as a two-way service road.[6] One can find many signs posted for Historic Route 66, especially where it deviates from I-55.

The earliest stretch of I-55 was a portion of US 66 which had already been built as a freeway between Gardner and Interstate 294 (Tri-State Tollway) in Indian Head Park, and which was added to the Interstate system by simply erecting new signs in 1960.[7] Later portions of the highway were built in the 1960s between East St. Louis and Hamel, as bypasses of Springfield and Bloomington-Normal, and as the Stevenson Expressway into Downtown Chicago.[8] The rest of the road was completed in the 1970s.

Recent Upgrades and Current Construction

Because of the heavy traffic on Interstate 55 mentioned above, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) must spend millions per year maintaining the roadway, adding lanes, and replacing bridges to increase the capacity of the highway.[9][10]

In northeastern Illinois near Joliet, a widening project that expanded I-55 from two to three lanes in each direction between I-80 (exit 250) and Weber Road (exit 263) was completed on October 29, 2008.[11]

In the 2000s decade, the Damen Avenue (Exit 290) and Pulaski Road (Exit 287) interchanges were rebuilt in the Single-Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) configuration, and as of 2013 the Central Avenue (Exit 285) interchange was also under reconstruction as a SPUI. The Arsenal Road (Exit 245) interchange was under complete rebuilding and reconfiguration as of 2012, and the deteriorated overpass at Illinois Route 129 (Exit 238) was removed in 2012 in anticipation of future construction of a full interchange, temporarily leaving the IL 129 interchange with only a northbound exit and northbound entrance.[12][13]

At Saint Louis, a new Mississippi River Bridge for Interstate 70, costing $667 million, is under construction to relieve congestion on I-55's Poplar Street Bridge.[14]

Exit list

County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
St. Clair East St. Louis Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River (Missouri–Illinois state line)
IL 3 south / Great River Road south South end of IL 3/GRR overlap
13th Street, Tudor Avenue
1 Fourth Street – East St. Louis Business District Northbound exit and southbound entrance
2A Third Street – Eads Bridge Southbound exit and northbound entrance
2BC Martin Luther King Bridge – Downtown St. Louis Southbound exit and northbound entrance; left exit is signed as exit 2B and right exit as 2C
2 I-64 east / I-70 west (St. Clair Avenue) / IL 3 north – Louisville, St.Louis North end of I-64/IL 3 overlap
3 Exchange Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
4 IL 203 / Collinsville Road Signed as exits 4A (south) and 4B (north) southbound
Madison Fairmont City 6 IL 111 / Great River Road north North end of GRR overlap
Collinsville 9 Black Lane Northbound exit and southbound entrance
10 I-255 to I-270 – Memphis
11 IL 157
Maryville 15 IL 159 Signed as exits 15A (south) and 15B (north)
17 US 40 east North end of US 40 overlap
Troy 18 IL 162
20A I-70 east – Indianapolis North end of I-70 overlap
20B I-270 west – Kansas City
23 IL 143
Rest area available both directions between exit 23 and 30; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
Hamel 30 IL 140
33 IL 4
Livingston 37 Livingston, New Douglas
Macoupin 41 Staunton
White City 44 IL 138
Montgomery Litchfield 52 IL 16
60 IL 108
Rest area available both directions between exits 60 and 63; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
63 IL 48 / IL 127
Farmersville 72 Farmersville, Girard
Sangamon Divernon 80 Divernon
82 IL 104
83 Glenarm
Springfield 88 East Lake Drive – Chatham
90 Toronto Road
92A I-55 Bus. north (6th Street)
92B I-72 west / US 36 west South end of I-72/US 36 overlap
94 Stevenson Drive, East Lake Drive
96 IL 29 (South Grand Avenue) Signed as exits 96A (south) and 96B (north)
98A I-72 east / US 36 east North end of I-72/US 36 overlap
98B IL 97 west (Clear Lake Avenue)
100 IL 54 east (Sangamon Avenue) Signed as exits 100A (east) and 100B (west)
Southbound Rest Area between exits 105 and 100; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
Northbound Rest Area between exits 100 and 105; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
105 Sherman I-55 Bus. south
Williamsville 109 Williamsville (IL 123)
Logan Elkhart 115 Elkhart
119 Broadwell
123 I-55 Bus. north
Lincoln 126 IL 10 / IL 121
127 I-155 north
133 I-55 Bus. south
140 Atlanta, Lawndale
McLean 145 US 136
Rest area available both directions; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
154 Shirley
157A I-74 east / US 51 south – Indianapolis, Decatur South end of I-74/US 51 overlap
Bloomington 157B I-55 Bus. north (Veterans Parkway) Signed as exit 134B (north) southbound
160 US 150 / IL 9 (Market Street)
163 I-74 west North end of I-74 overlap
164 I-39 north / US 51 north North end of US 51 overlap
Normal 165 US 51 Bus. Signed as exits 165A (south) and 165B (north) northbound
167 I-55 Bus. south (Veterans Parkway)
171 Towanda
Lexington 178 Lexington
Chenoa 187 US 24
Livingston Pontiac Rest area available both directions between exits 187 and 197; full handicap facilities, phone, picnic tables, trash cans, vending, pet area
197 IL 116
201 IL 23
209 Odell
217 IL 17 Exits in Dwight
Grundy 220 IL 47
227 IL 53
233 Reed Road – Braidwood
236 IL 113
238 IL 129 south (Will Rogers Highway) Northbound exit and northbound entrance
240 Lorenzo Road
241 Wilmington
245 Arsenal Road
247 Bluff Road
Channahon 248 US 6
250 I-80 – Iowa, Indiana Signed as exits 250A (east) and 250B (west)
Shorewood 251 IL 59 north (Will Rogers Highway) / alt. Northbound exit and southbound entrance
253 US 52
257 US 30
Plainfield 261 IL 126 west (Will Rogers Highway, Main Street) / alt. Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Romeoville 263 Weber Road
267 IL 53
268 west (Will Rogers Highway, Joliet Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
269 I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) – Northwest Suburbs, Southwest Suburbs
DuPage Darien 271 Lemont Road Signed as exits 271A (south) and 271B (north)
273 Cass Avenue Signed as exits 273A (south) and 273B (north)
Willowbrook 274 IL 83 (Kingery Road)
Burr Ridge
276 County Line Road Signed as exits 276A (south) and 276B (north)
Indian Head Park 276C east (Will Rogers Highway, Joliet Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
277 I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana, Wisconsin Signed as exits 277A (north) and 277B (south); southbound exit to I-294 south is via exit 279A
279 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (La Grange Road) Signed as exits 279A (east/south) and 279B (west/north)
Summit 282 IL 171 (1st Avenue) Signed as exits 282A (south) and 282B (north) northbound
283 IL 43 (Harlem Avenue (7200 West))
285 Central Avenue (5600 West)
286 IL 50 (Cicero Avenue (4800 West))
287 Pulaski Road (4000 West)
288 Kedzie Avenue (3200 West) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
289 California Avenue (2800 West) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
290 Damen Avenue (2000 West)
290 Ashland Avenue (1600 West) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
292 I-90 / I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana, Wisconsin Signed as exits 292A (west) and 292B (east) northbound, and as exits 292 (west) and 293B (east) southbound
293A Cermak Road – Chinatown (2200 South) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
293C State Street (0 East/West) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
293D Martin L. King Drive (400 East) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
294.38 US 41 (Lake Shore Drive) Freeway Begins/Ends; Northbound exit to and southbound exit from Lake Shore Drive North/South
Beginning of I-55 Southbound to I-10, end of I-55 Northbound. Roadway continues north to Ft. Wilkins State Park, Michigan via Lake Shore Drive.

Related routes

Springfield business loop

Interstate 55 Business
Location: Springfield

Business Loop 55 refers to a major arterial surface street that serves downtown Springfield, Illinois. It runs north from the intersection of Interstates 55 and Interstate 72 through downtown to Illinois Route 4 (Veterans' Parkway). It then runs northeast to Sherman.[15]

All of Business Loop 55 was part of U.S. Route 66 at some point.

Major junctions

Lincoln business loop

Interstate 55 Business
Location: Lincoln

Bloomington–Normal business loop

Interstate 55 Business
Location: BloomingtonNormal


External links

Interstate 55
Previous state:
Illinois Next state:

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