Interstate 155 Illinois

Routing

Interstate 155 provides a cut off between the I-74 corridor at Peoria and the I-55 corridor north from Springfield. The linear freeway travels a rural route north from the Lincoln area to Morton, replacing the old alignment of Illinois 121.

History

Illinois initially submitted the designation of Interstate 37 for the Illinois 121 corridor between Lincoln and Morton. AASHTO deferred on the designation at the Route Numbering Committee Meeting held on December 8, 1990, with the suggestion of a three-digit designation instead. The state resubmitted the route as Interstate 155 to AASHTO on June 9, 1991, and that designation was approved contingent upon the completion of the freeway route to Interstate standards.

Work on the $120-million project to upgrade Illinois 121 and construct Interstate 155 was finished on October 30, 1992. Initial discussion surrounding the upgrade of IL 121 to four-lane standards began in the early 1960s. The IL 121 intersection with newly built IL 98 gained the nickname "Killer Corner" when the two roads met south of Morton due 15 accident deaths that occurred at the intersection. That junction was replaced with an interchange in November 1989.1

An $86.6 million capital investment reconstructed Interstate 74 at both I-155 and adjacent Morton Avenue (Exit 102). The work zone upgraded I-74 between west of Pleasant Hill Road and west of Main Street and I-155 north of the Birchwood interchange. Work effecting I-155 improved the geometry of the trumpet interchange with I-74 and lowered Interstate 74 to grade level through the exchange, with new overpasses built for I-155. Construction commenced on April 1, 2013.2

The I-74 and I-155 Improvement Project was forecast to run through summer 2015,2 but continued through fall 2016. Ramps between I-155 north and I-74 west and from I-74 west to I-155 south reopened on November 14, 2015.3

Highway Guide

Southern Terminus - Interstate 55 - Lincoln, Illinois
Historical Perspective from Interstate 155 south
Interstate 155 angles southeast from the crossing of Sugar Creek on a 5.2 mile exit less stretch leading to Exit 0 with Interstate 55.
All signs for I-55 on I-155 south were replaced by 2013 to use Clearview Font. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/01/02).
One mile ahead of the directional T interchange (Exit 0) with Interstate 55 on I-155 south. This is an uncommon instance where the terminus of an Interstate is signed as Exit 0. Other examples include the south end of I-65 and the west end of I-265 in Indiana. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (11/25/01).
Interstates 55 and 155 come together on the rural outskirts of Lincoln within West Lincoln township. Here I-55 turns east to overtake Historic U.S. 66 northeast to Bloomington, Normal and ultimately Chicago. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/01/02).
Traffic partitions at Exits 0A/0B from I-155 south. Illinois 121 begins from Interstate 55 to the south of Kickapoo Creek at Exit 126 (Illinois 10). The 109 mile route travels southeast through Lincoln to Decatur and Mattoon. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/01/02).
An end shield for Interstate 155 appears along the Exit 0A ramp connecting with I-55 south. St. Louis is a 126 mile drive to the southwest.
A replacement of this assembly was located further south by the gore point of the ramp merge. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (11/25/01).
Historical Perspective from 55 north
Interstate 55 leads due north from the split with Business Loop I-55 leading into Lincoln. The freeway next meets Illinois 10 and the north end of Illinois 121 (Exit 126), followed by the beginning of I-155 (Exit 127).
These signs were replaced with Clearview font based panels by 2015. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/02).
A ground level guide sign preceded the left-hand ramp (Exit 127) from Interstate 55 north for I-155. It was removed by 2013. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/13/05).
Perspective from Interstate 55 north
Entering the folded diamond interchange (Exit 126) with Illinois 10 west to Mason City and Illinois 10 & 121 east to Downtown Lincoln. Old Route 121 followed an alignment to the east from Lincoln to Hartsburg. I-155 overtakes the former alignment beyond Exit 6. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/02).
Interstate 55 spans Kickapoo Creek to the immediate north of Illinois 10 & 121. The freeway then curves eastward through the directional T interchange (Exit 127) with Interstate 155 north. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
A two-lane ramp (Exit 127) departs from the left-hand side of I-155 north for Morton, Peoria and the Quad Cities as I-55 turns east for Bloomington, Normal and Chicago. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Historical Perspective from 55 south
The initial guide sign for Interstate 155 (Exit 127) on I-55 south stands ahead of the Old Route 121 overpass in West Lincoln township.
This sign was replaced by 2016. Photo taken 05/06/10.
Continuing west along I-55 south between agricultural fields, drivers approach Exit 127 for I-155 leading north to Hartsburg. I-55 turns due south from the forthcoming exit to complete the bypass of Lincoln en route to Springfield.
Note that the left-hand panel erroneously displayed Exit 127 instead of Exit 126. This was later corrected, with both overheads replaced by 2016. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/02).
Perspective from Interstate 55 south
Exit 127 separates from the Interstate 55 southbound mainline for I-155 leading back north to Peoria and Moline. I-55 overtakes old U.S. 66 again in six miles and reaches Springfield in 28 miles. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/02).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 74 - Morton, Illinois
Historical Perspective from 155 north
Ground level guide signs were posted ahead of the trumpet interchange joining Interstate 155 with I-74. These were removed during the I-74 and I-155 Improvement Project. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/23/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 west
Traffic merges onto I-74 west from the commercialized stretch of Morton Avenue just ahead of Exit 101 for Interstate 155 south. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Interstate 155 runs through western reaches of Morton over the initial three mile stretch. The remainder of the 35 mile drive to Lincoln is rural. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Historical Perspective from 74 west
Interstate 74 spanned U.S. 150 and the River Trail of Illinois rail trail along the short stretch separating Morton Avenue (Exit 102) with the trumpet interchange for Interstate 155 south. This stretch was expanded to six lanes during 2013-16 road work. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/23/02).
Interstate 74 previously crossed over the ramps for I-155. The freeway now travels at-grade with Exit 101 elevating above I-74 for the freeway south to Lincoln. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/01/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 east
The I-74 and I-155 Improvement Project expanded Interstate 74 to six overall lanes between I-474 at East Peoria and Exit 102 in the village of Morton. A fourth eastbound lane opens ahead of Exit 101 for I-155 south. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Exit 101 parts ways with I-74 east for Interstate 155 south to Tremont, Hartsburg and Lincoln. Interstate 74 advances east through Morton to Bloomington. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Historical Perspective from 74 east
Pleasant Mill Road spanned Interstate 74 as the freeway led away from the merge with I-474 on the one mile approach to I-155 south (Exit 101). Diagrammatic signs for the upcoming split were removed during 2013-15 road work. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/06/05).
A second diagrammatic overhead outlined the trumpet interchange (Exit 101) with Interstate 155 south on I-74 east at the Muller Road overpass. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/06/05).
Interstate 74 was lowered to grade level beyond the ramp split (Exit 101) for Interstate 155 south. Sign changes made here replaced Indianapolis with Bloomington for I-74 east. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/06/05).

Sources:

  1. "31-MILE SUPERHIGHWAY OPENS AFTER 30-YEAR DRIVE FOR SAFER ROAD." Journal Star (Peoria, IL), October 30, 1992.
  2. "Governor Quinn Announces $86 Million Capital Investment to Reconstruct I-74 and I-155 Interchange." Office of the Governor - Patt Quinn, press release. March 28, 2013.
  3. "I-74/I-155 Ramps Reopening." Office of the Governor - Bruce Rauner, press release. November 12 , 2015.

Page Updated September 6, 2016.



More Info

Mileage

State Illinois
Mileage 32.13
Cities Lincoln, Peoria
Junctions I-55, I-74
Source: December 31, 2016 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
IL 121 under construction for I-155 - 1989 Illinois Official Highway Map