The East Side Highway EA is the next stage of analysis that follows the East Side Highway Feasibility Study and Corridor Study. The 2002 Feasibility Study examined the ability to connect I-55 to I-74 east of Bloomington-Normal. It predicted that the future urban expansion of the region will stress the existing roadway networks, and explored the impacts of providing a new major roadway facility that would relieve traffic congestion.
The East Side Highway Corridor Study began in March 2007 and was completed in March 2009. The Context Sensitive Solution (CSS) approach to public involvement was used throughout the Corridor Study and will continue through the EA. The East Side Highway Corridor Study identified a single feasible 500’ wide corridor that would serve the needs of anticipated growth on the east side of the Bloomington-Normal community. This study did not determine the location of a specific alignment.
The EA is not a refinement of the Corridor Study’s recommended alternative. The EA will assess a full range of transportation improvement alternatives. Some of the corridors previously studied, in addition to new corridors, will be examined for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to integrate socio-economic and environmental values into the decision making process. Transportation Demand Strategies, compatibility with transit, support of alternate modes of transportation, location of a specific alignment, roadway geometry, and interchange type will be refined during the EA study. The Corridor Study considered these values on a preliminary level only. Upon completion of the EA, a specific alignment with centerline and preliminary Right Of Way needs will be identified. The final Corridor Report and associated appendices can be downloaded here.