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IL 97 Expressway

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IDOT is proposing to upgrade a section of Illinois Route 97 (IL 97) northwest of Springfield.  The facility is currently a two-lane rural highway west of Koke Mill Road and continues as a four-lane urban section approaching Veterans Parkway.  This portion of IL 97 primarily serves commuters that live in surrounding northwestern communities but work in the Springfield Metropolitan area.  IL 97 also represents a primary route for tourists traveling to the New Salem Village Historic Site which is located approximately 14 miles north of the project’s western terminus and is one of the most visited historic sites in all of Illinois. 

The proposed upgrade consists of constructing and rehabilitating approximately 5.5 miles of IL 97 from Veteran’s Parkway to IL 97/125 in two sections, with two bridge replacements, geometric improvements, and drainage upgrades.  This project will provide a new expressway for a smooth and safe ride for motorists and will support future investment in the region.

Note: IDOT projects typically have three distinct phases. Phase I (or the project Study) consists of developing the project scope, environmental studies and preliminary design of a project. Phase II (Design) consists of refining the design to develop contract plans and land acquisition. Phase III (Construction) consists of the actual construction of the project.

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Project Description

Illinois Route 97 is currently a 2-lane State highway that extends from Veteran’s Parkway in Springfield to U.S. Highway 150 near Galesburg.  The 5.5 mile, east-west section from Veterans Parkway to the IL 125/97 junction west of Springfield is proposed to be upgraded to a partial access controlled, 4-lane expressway.

The proposed improvement involves an alignment shift to the north to allow for a bypass around the town of Bradfordton, replacement of the Prairie Creek and Sangamon Valley Trail bridge structures, and signalized intersections at Bradfordton Road and at the Illinois Route 125/97 junction.

The primary purpose in upgrading the Illinois Route 97 facility is to reduce accident rates, increase capacity to meet both current and projected traffic demands, and avert flooding at the Prairie Creek crossing.

Corridor Highlights

The project begins immediately west of Veteran’s Parkway and extends west along Illinois Route 97. All business and residential access from IL 97 will be replaced. New intersections will be constructed at Winch Lane and Emporia Avenue. Five lanes of new pavement with a center turn lane will be added between Winch Lane and Koke Mill Road.

The existing bridge over IL 97 for the Sangamon Valley Trail will be removed and replaced with a new bridge as expeditiously as possible to minimize delays for trail users.

From Koke Mill Road to the west, the remainder of this project will consist of a 4-lane divided expressway. New intersections will be constructed at Koke Mill Road, Hazlett Road, Old Covered Bridge Lane & County Highway 46, and Farmington Cemetery Road.  Additional frontage roads and field access are included along the route to maintain access to property owners.

The existing IL 97 roadway will serve as a frontage road for businesses and residents between Old Covered Bridge Lane and Hazlett Road.  The existing intersection at Bradfordton Road will be widened with a two-way stop-controlled intersection for east-west traffic. 

New 4-way signalized intersections with turn lanes will be constructed at Bradfordton Road and at the junction of IL 125 & IL 97.  A free-flowing northbound ramp will be added for traffic proceeding north on IL 97.

The existing bridge and pavement at Prairie Creek will be removed and replaced a couple of hundred feet to the south and about a quarter mile section of Prairie Creek, to the west, will be re-aligned.

The project terminates near Smith Road and tapers back to the existing two-lane highway and IL 125 continues to the west.


This project is currently identified in IDOT’s Fiscal Year 2021 – 2026 Multi-Year Program, which is subject to the availability of funds and is anticipated to be constructed under two contracts. 

  • Contract 1 will construct the expressway from Veteran’s Parkway to Old Covered Bridge Lane & County Highway 46.
  • Contract 2 will complete the expressway from Old Covered Bridge Lane & County Highway 46 to west of the Illinois 125/97 junction.


  • December 2021

Several steps are being taken to move this project forward.  Beginning in 2021, IDOT held a virtual public meeting.  From that meeting, IDOT received 42 comments.  IDOT thanks those interested stakeholders for their comments on this project.

Results from a traffic noise study evaluating noise impacts from the proposed improvements to IL 97 have been completed.  A noise wall was recommended to be constructed on the north side of IL 97 from Winch Lane to the Sangamon Valley Trail. Property owners along Mesa Rd. in the Youngston Hills subdivision were contacted asking for their opinion on the construction of a noise wall.  After receiving a favorable response to constructing a noise wall, it is anticipated that one will be included in the construction plans.

IDOT is also beginning the land appraisal process for those parcels that may be impacted by this project.   Additionally, archeologists have begun their site assessments for cultural resources.

  • February 11, 2021 – Public Informational Meeting – Revised Preferred Alignment
  • January 10, 2012 – Corridor of Protection / Public Hearing
  • May 8, 1997 - Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)


This site will be updated periodically as the project progresses. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wishes to thank you for your support and patience.

IDOT is currently in the design stage (Phase II) for this project. As we make changes, this website will be updated accordingly.

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