Citizens Against the Sprawlway

Updated 9/7/2012 -  | Prairie Parkway News Coverage Prior to 2009 | Contact us

Feds Pull Plug on Prairie Parkway; Funds to IL 47, US 34

Logo Poster    The federal government has withdrawn its approval of the proposed Prairie Parkway which would connect I-80 and I-88 in Kane, Kendall, and Grundy counties under an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by opponents of the highway project.

    The action eliminates federal funding for the project, and the Illinois Department of Transportation will now shift federal funds previously allocated to the Prairie Parkway to improvements to Illinois 47 and US 34.

47 Plus Coalition news release on the federal action
Text of the Federal Highway Administration rescission document

News Coverage of Prairie Parkway Decision

Crain's Chicago Business, Hastert's Prairie Parkway suffers two likely fatal blows
WNIU Radio, Prairie Parkway Funds is Withdrawn
Chicago Tribune, It's the end of the road for proposed Prairie Parkway
Aurora Beacon-News, Feds pull approval for Prairie Parkway through Kendall Co.
Aurora Beacon-News, Prairie Parkway opponents celebrate highway's demise
Morris Daily Herald, Even after demise, opinions split on Prairie Parkway
Oswego Ledger-Sentinel, Feds pull plug on Prairie Parkway expressway
Yorkville Patch, Prairie Parkway No More After Federal Government Withdraws Approval

Chicago Tribune, Editorial:  R.I.P. Hastert Highway
Elburn Herald, Prairie Parkway Funding Pulled

Who contributed to this superb victory?

The Federal Highway Administration decision to rescind approval of the Prairie Parkway ended a long, persistent campaign to scuttle the project.  Many individuals and groups contributed to the 11-year fight to save farmland, protect the environment and preserve the area’s rural and small community way of life. 

Thirteen groups formed the 47 Plus Coalition seeking to shift funding from the proposed Prairie Parkway to improving Illinois 47 and other existing highways.

Numerous individuals warrant special mention:

Tollway Drops Consideration of Prairie Parkway as Future Project

In 2010 the Illinois Tollway was looking at the Prairie Parkway as a future tollway project, one of five under consideration.  The tollway board met in September 2010 to the review the project and heard from a number of Prairie Parkway opponents.  

On June 30, 2011, the Tollway announced the list of projects for further consideration -- dropping only the Prairie Parkway.  Still in the running for future tollways are  (1) the Elgin O'Hare Expressway and western bypass to O'Hare; (2) extending Illinois 53 north into Lake and McHenry counties; (3) the proposed Illiana Expressway into Indiana through the southern suburbs; (4) and rebuilding Interstate 90 to Rockford.  Also added to the list was the I-294 interchange with I-57.

IDOT Shifts Prairie Parkway Funding to IL 47 and US 34 in 6-Year Highway Plan

The Illinois Department of Transportation issued its 2013-2018 Highway Improvement Program this spring, and it includes no funding for the Prairie Parkway.  None.  No mention.  Nothing.  Just as there has been no Prairie Parkway funding included since 2008.

This year, however, included a major change:  For Fiscal Year 2013 which began July 1, 2012, IDOT is planning to shift the federal funding previously pegged for the Prairie Parkway to improvements to IL 47 and US 34.  Of course, IDOT has already squandered some $70 million on the moribund Prairie Parkway and purchased about 250 acres for the project.

Here's the Highway Improvement Program description of the IL 47 and US 34 work being planned:

Illinois 47 from Caton Farm Road to 0.6 mile north of Interstate 80 at Morris.

Reconstruction with additional lanes for 12 miles, culvert replacements, bridge replacements, land acquisition, utility adjustments and construction engineering are programmed during FY 2013-2018 at a cost of $98.9 million. Of this total, land acquisition is programmed in FY 2013 at a cost of $3 million. SAFETEA-LU provided $81 million in NCII funds for this project.

US 34 from Illinois 47 to Orchard Road west of Oswego.

Reconstruction with additional lanes for 3.5 miles, curb and gutter, new storm sewer, land acquisition, construction engineering and utility adjustments are programmed during FY 2013-2018 at a cost of $36.6 million. Of this total, land acquisition is programmed in FY 2013 at a cost of $1 million. SAFETEA-LU provided $29.2 million in NCII funds for this project.

See the 2013-2018 Highway Improvement Program (District 3) online. 

More links

Hastert's $2 million profit from land deals

In December 2005, just five months after he secured $207 million in federal funds for the Prairie Parkway, House Speaker Dennis Hastert sold 138 acres of land near the highway route, netting him a $2 million profit on land held for three years or less.  See additional details in Prairie Parkway News Coverage and in a Report prepared by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington DC based Congressional watchdog organization.

Another watchdog group on 2006 called for a Department of Justice investigation of Hastert's land dealings and highway "earmarks." See the details at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington website.

Five Townships Vote  'No' on Prairie Parkway
Voters in three Kendall County townships - Fox, Lisbon, and Seward - voted against the  the proposed Prairie Parkway in the February 5 primary election.  These three rural townships would be most affected by the proposed 37-mile freeway from I-80 to I-88.  72 percent of Lisbon voters, 65 percent of Fox voters and 58 percent of Seward voters said they oppose the construction of the proposed $1 billion freeway.  The advisory referenda send a clear message to Illinois legislators.

In April 2007 voters in two Kane County townships to the north strongly rejected the Prairie Parkway.  In Big Rock Township the vote was 88 percent against the proposed freeway and in Kaneville Township 81 percent voted their opposition.

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Chicago Wilderness Special Report
In its Fall 2006 issue, Chicago Wilderness magazine published a special report on the environmental threat of new highways, focusing on the Prairie Parkway. 

Grand Prize Image

Grand Prize - Raymond Silva

Foggy Cornfield South of Plano

What We'd Lose - Prairie Parkway Photo Contest Winners

  • Grand Prize -Raymond Silva, Yorkville
  • First Place, Agriculture - John Farrell, Batavia
  • First Place, Environment - Joan Soltwisch, Minooka
  • First Place, Rural Life - Raymond Silva, Yorkville
  • First Place, Youth - Brianna Yepsen, Newark
  • Honorable Mention - Kimberly Strom, DeKalb