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Illinois Route 3 Connector Project

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is nearing completion of the Illinois Route 3 Connector Phase I Study. The study area is within the municipalities of East St. Louis, Madison, and Fairmont City in St. Clair and Madison counties, Illinois. Although the study area is located in Illinois, it is located within the St. Louis metropolitan area and the transportation planning jurisdiction of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the St. Louis region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). 

The Preferred Alternative, shown in the graphic below, is comprised of transportation improvements along four separate arterial roadways. These include new construction of the Illinois Route 3 Connector (Relocated Illinois Route 3 to Illinois Route 203), new construction of a portion of Relocated Illinois Route 3 (Packers Avenue/Fairmont City Boulevard to the Illinois Route 3 Connector), replacement of the Illinois Route 203 bridges over the Cahokia Canal, and a new signalized intersection between the Illinois Route 3 Connector and Illinois Route 203. Additionally, Exchange Avenue will be reconstructed from 1st Street to 7th Street. 

Project Update - November 2023

  • An in-person Public Hearing was held on November 28, 2023. Click the Get Involved Tab for meeting details.
  • A Preferred Alternative, as shown in graphic below, has been identified to provide transportation improvements in East St. Louis, Madison, and Fairmont City in St. Clair and Madison Counties, Illinois. More details on the Preferred Alternative can be found here.
  • A Project Design Report describing the project development process and selection of the Preferred Alternative, including the alternatives evaluation, environmental considerations, technical analyses, and stakeholder involvement. The draft Project Design Report will be available for public review and comment at the Public Hearing. 
  • In the Fall of 2022, the project was downgraded from an Environmental Assessment (EA) to a Categorical Exclusion since none of the identified impacts constitute a significant impact under National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and all of the impacts will be mitigated.
  • During the study period when the project was classified as an EA, resource agencies were involved with the project through the NEPA/404 merger process and concurred on the purpose and need, alternatives to be carried forward, the Preferred Alternative, and the associated impacts with the Preferred Alternative. 
  • Eight Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings were held throughout the study. The last meeting was held in February 2016.
  • Three public meetings were held in April 2014, October 2014, and September 2015.

IDOT projects typically have three distinct phases. IDOT is nearing completion of Phase I (or the Project Study) for the Illinois Route 3 Connector Project consisting of developing the project scope, environmental studies, and preliminary design of a project. The remaining steps will be to compile comments from this Public Hearing and complete design studies and reports. Upon completion of the engineering design and Project Design Report, the project will be eligible to receive Design Approval and move forward to Phase II (Design), which includes the final preparation of contract plans/specifications and land acquisition. Phase III (Construction) consists of the actual construction of the project depending on budget availability, right-of-way, and project readiness. 

Project Update – October 2015

  • The third Public Informational Meeting was held September 2, 2015. IDOT presented the four Alternatives Being Carried Forward for Further Study at the meeting. For more information, visit the Get Involved section of this website, then click on Meetings and Events.
  • The study team has been evaluating the four study Alternatives Carried Forward (plus the No-Build alternative) to identify a Preferred Alternative. This process includes reviewing, considering and responding to comments from the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and those received at the public meeting.
  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the study’s Purpose and Need in March 2015
  • Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings were held in January 2013, October 2014; and July 2015
  • The study team is drafting an Environmental Assessment (EA), as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Draft EA is anticipated being available for public review and comment at a Public Hearing in late 2016, which is not yet scheduled.
  • Engineering and environmental studies and land surveying are ongoing.



IDOT is nearing completion of the Phase I Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study for this project. This tab of the website will be updated as new information becomes available.