"Outer Beltway" scuttled
1:21 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Prairie Parkway Funding Is Withdrawn

The federal government has rescinded its approval of the nearly $1 billion proposed Prairie Parkway, which would have connected I-80 and I-88 in Kane, Kendall, and Grundy counties.

The recession is part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by opponents of the highway project.

The action eliminates federal funding for the  37-mile-long 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.

“After an 11-year fight, we have finally scuttled this highway,” said Jan Strasma, chairman of Citizens Against the Sprawlway, “which would have destroyed thousands of acres of prime farmland, threatened the Fox River and its tributaries, and forever changed the area’s small-community way of life.”

Members of the grassroots organization, which has opposed the highway since its approval four years ago, had scheduled its annual “Stop the Beltway” Picnic for Sunday afternoon. That picnic, Strasma said, will now become a celebration.

Environmental groups sued the highway administration, claiming the project review was inadequate. 

Environmental Law & Policy Center Executive Director Howard Learner says that is ``a better and affordable transportation solution'' in the area.