I-290 Eisenhower Expressway

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I-290 ExpresswayLike “The IKE” Again

When the Eisenhower Expressway first opened in 1955, it spurred the westward expansion of Greater Chicago and ushered in a new era of optimism. It was the first highway system in the United States to incorporate a rapid transit line and an expressway within the same corridor, creating a multi-modal thoroughfare that stood as a shining example of efficiency.

Since then, population growth and aging infrastructure have combined to create congestion, frustrating commuters and giving “The IKE” a bad name. In the Fall of 2009, The Illinois Department of Transportation initiated the Eisenhower Expressway Environmental Impact Statement Study. That very same year, Images, Inc. was hired to re-brand the campaign and lead the extensive public involvement process. Since that time, Images has been continuously working with IDOT and the 13 communities along the corridor on community group and municipal meetings, public meetings, one-on-one meetings and media outreach.  Images develops all of the presentation materials, including newsletters, website, posters, eblasts, Powerpoint and display materials.  In addition, Images manages all of the community input, which will be included in the Environmental Impact Statement.

This project is unique and challenging due to the breadth and depth of the stakeholders: highly populated suburbs with frequent intersections and access points, commuter rail, and heavily trafficked bus routes. It is estimated that between years 2000 and 2030 the region’s population will grow by 1.8 million people, which is significantly faster than previous decades.

The multi-modal breakthrough that the Eisenhower introduced in 1955 is the very thing that will make it difficult to update the system. With our creative approach to public involvement and stakeholder outreach, Images has made progress in assessing the environmental impacts of the alternatives and soliciting input from residents through extensive outreach and meeting facilitation. Reaching consensus on how to proceed is the first step to all of us liking “The Ike” once again.

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