Interstate 474 Illinois

Routing

Interstate 474 provides a bypass of Peoria and East Peoria while serving General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) and the suburbs of Bellevue, Bartonville, Creve Coeur, Marquette Heights and North Pekin. The freeway ties directly into the Illinois 6 freeway spurring north to Mossville and ends to the east near the north end of I-155 at Morton. I-474 spans the Illinois River across the Shade-Lohmann Bridge, a pair of 3,420 foot plus steel through truss bridges.

Future Aspirations

Plans for the Eastern Bypass Project, a limited access extension of the IL 6 freeway east across the Illinois River at Mossville and southeast to East Peoria, would complete a full beltway of Peoria in conjunction with Interstate 474. The bridge and remaining freeway miles were initially estimated to cost $800 million. The passage of SAFETEA-LU in 2005 appropriated $2.4 million for design, engineering, and land acquisition for the eventual corridor. A corridor study for the beltway followed.1

Directed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Phase 1 (Corridor Selection and Alignment) of the Eastern Bypass Project narrowed a list of 20 potential corridors to 14 then six. Input from the Community Advisory Group (CAG) subsequently reduced the number to four. Those remaining generally traveled southeast from Mossville along a corridor east of Germantown Hills and west of Washington to varying locations along Interstate 74. The P2 alignment connected with I-74 at I-474, while M-10 and T-6 were further east near Main Street and Tennessee Avenue in Morton, leaving D-13 near Dee-Mack Road toward the village of Deer Creek. The city of Peoria passed a resolution supporting Corridor P2.2 Completion of the ring road with I-474 and Illinois 6 remains a regional priority as of 2015.3

A proposed "Peoria to Chicago" expressway is also under consideration, with three corridors outlined in 1996. The corridor would branch north or northeast from Illinois 6 / Eastern Bypass to connect Peoria with Interstates 39, 55 or 80. One route involved an upgrade of the Illinois 29 corridor northward from Mossville to I-180 while another paralleled Illinois 116 east to I-55 at Pontiac.4,5

History

Construction for Interstate 474 was underway by the early 1970s, but stopped in 1973 due to the need for an environmental impact statement. Completed at the time was the Shade-Lohmann Bridge spanning the Illinois River. Work on the freeway resumed in 1976, with a 3.6 mile stretch from U.S. 24 (McKinley Street) at Bartonville and south Peoria to Illinois 29 at Creve Coeur opened two years later. A dedication ceremony on August 30, 1978 opened the freeway and formally named the bridge in honor of former Pekin legislators J. Norman Shade and Martin Lohmann.6

Lohmann retired in 1952 after a 30 year career with terms in both the state House and Senate. Shade started his political career in 1908 and served in office for 40 years with terms as a state representative, Tazewell County Board and mayor of Pekin. He was a proponent for the 1930-opened Pekin Bridge (IL 9) and for the construction of IL 121 (I-155). The blue paint scheme for their bridge was selected from a 1973 contest conducted by IDOT.6,7

The remainder of Interstate 474 north to Illinois 6 and east to I-74 at East Peoria opened to traffic on December 20, 1979. Illinois 6 extended the Peoria ring road north from I-74 / 474 to U.S. 150 on December 20, 1979, from U.S. 150 north to Illinois 40 (former IL 88) on December 28, 1982 and from Illinois 40 north to Illinois 29 on November 3, 1985.8

U.S. 24 was relocated from a route through Downtown Peoria along Adams and Washington Streets to overlap with Interstate 474 between Exits 6 and 9 by 2013. The reroute was the result of Peoria City Council actions to take over maintenance of Washington Street. While promoting development in the Warehouse District, the city planned on allowing on-street parking on both sides of the street while implementing measures to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety. A $16 million lane-narrowing project was eventually completed to reduce Washington Street between Edmund Street and Hamilton Boulevard.9

Highway Guide

Western Terminus - Interstate 74 - western Peoria, Illinois
Perspective from Interstate 474 west
Leaving Bellevue, Interstate 474 becomes rural on the two mile drive to I-74 and Illinois 6 north.
This sign was carbon copied by 2011 with Clearview font. A replacement made of it by 2015 added exit numbers (Exits 0A/B) and switched the positions of Peoria and the Quad Cities. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
A diagrammatic sign outlines the left-hand ramp (Exit 0A) for Interstate 74 west to Moline and Rock Island. Exit 0B follows for I-74 east back into Peoria. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
A second diagrammatic sign, replaced by 2015, lies one half mile ahead of the directional cloverleaf interchange (Exits 0A/B) with Interstate 74. I-74 leaves Peoria for a rural trek west to Galesburg and north to I-80 and 280 at Colona. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Two lanes part ways from I-474 west for Interstate 74 as the mainline transitions to Illinois 6 north to Mossville and IL 29. Photo taken by David Greenberger (07/99).
An end sign stands beyond the on-ramp from I-74 west to Illinois 6 for Interstate 474. The ensuing freeway to north Peoria is the Gold Star Families Memorial Highway. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Perspective from Illinois 6 south
Heading south from U.S. 150, Illinois 6 travels between wooded subdivisions through to the directional cloverleaf interchange (Exits 0B/A) with Interstate 74. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Clearview sign replacements made along Illinois 6 south by 2011 carbon copied the local control city of Galesburg for I-74 west and retained Exits A-B. A subsequent change by 2015 assigned the ramps as Exits 0B/A while increasing the font size for I-74 and I-474. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Illinois 6 winds southward from the Charter Oak Road underpass to reach Exit 0A for Interstate 74 west to Galesburg and Moline of the Quad Cities. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Interstate 474 takes over for the ending Illinois 6 to PIA Airport and Creve Cove in Tazewell County. The control city is Bloomington here, while Indianapolis is referenced from the I-74 eastbound mainline. Interests to Wildlife Prairie Park are directed onto Exit 0A. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Illinois 6 south reaches milepost zero ahead of the loop ramp (Exit 0B) for Interstate 74 east to Downtown Peoria and East Peoria. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/14/16).
Historical Perspective from Illinois 6 south
Two banks of shields were posted at the southern terminus of Illinois 6 for Interstates 74 and 474. The assemblies featured exit placards, an unusual sign practice once also found at the north end of I-155, but rarely elsewhere in the Interstate system. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 west
Passing by Northwoods Mall, drivers along Interstate 74 west see the first sign for the return of I-474 west (Exit 87A). Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Interstate 74 west transitions to a rural freeway ahead of Big Hollow Creek and Exits 87B/A with Illinois 6 north and I-474 east. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/14/16).
The succeeding off-ramp (Exit 87B) departs in one half mile for Illinois 6 to north Peoria. The state route extends the freeway ten miles to Illinois 29 at unincorporated Mossville. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/14/16).
IL 6 to IL 29 leads motorists 18 miles north to the Illinois River city of Chillicothe. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Interstate 474 travels south to the village of Bellevue and PIA Airport and southeast through the village of Bartonville to the Shade-Lohmann Bridge. Connections with IL 116 take travelers west to the U.S. 67 corridor north of Macomb. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/14/16).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 74 west
This scene looks at the original location of the two mile guide sign for I-474 & Illinois 6 at the Sterling Avenue overpass. The Upgrade 74 project added a diamond interchange with Sterling Avenue here. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/01/02).
Interstate 74 leaves the Upgrade 74 rebuilt section of freeway between Sterling Avenue and Exits 87B/A. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 east
Interstate 74 travels southeast 4.4 miles from the Kickapoo interchange to split with Interstate 474 (Exit 87A) in two miles. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (06/13/16).
Through trucks were advised to take Interstate 474 around Peoria due to the substandard nature of I-74 through Downtown and across the Murray Baker Bridge. The recommendation was dropped following the completion of the Upgrade 74 project through Peoria in November 2006. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (06/13/16).
I-74 traverses a series of forested hills through Kickapoo township through to the Peoria city line at Exits 87A/B. I-474 wraps around the west side of the city southward to General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) and Bartonville while Illinois 6 extends north to Mossville. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (06/13/16).
Arrow-per-lane (APL) signs were installed for the Interstates 74 and 474 split by 2015. I-474 sees Indianapolis for the continuation of I-74 east beyond Peoria. However signs posted for I-74 east at I-155 now reference Bloomington in place of the Indiana capital city. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (06/13/16).
High speed ramps connect Interstates 74 to 474 east and from I-474 to I-74 west. A cloverleaf interchange (Exit 87B) otherwise joins the freeway mainline with Illinois 6 as it extends the Peoria ring road north to IL 29 ahead of Chillicothe. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (06/13/16).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 74 east
Sign changes made here by 2015 added an APL for Exit 87A and dropped references for Illinois 6 north to Chillicothe. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/06/05).
Two lanes departed for Interstate 474 south to the Shade-Lohmann Bridge as the default through route for I-74 during the 2002-06 Upgrade 74 project. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (08/06/05).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 74 - eastern Peoria, Illinois
Perspective from Interstate 474 east
Forthcoming Exit 15 provides return access to Peoria from Interstate 74 east. The ramp also provides part of a truck bypass of U.S. 24 through Creve Coeur and East Peoria.
This sign was replaced by 2015. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
This diagrammatic sign was replaced with separate panels for the left-hand ramp (Exit 15) to I-74 west and the mainline continuation to Indianapolis. Bloomington is the ensuing control city for Interstate 74 east beyond the merge with I-474. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Interstate 474 defaults onto I-74 east with two lanes ahead of Interstate 155 south at the village of Morton. Exit 99 stems northeast to a loop ahead for I-74 west ahead of Pinecrest Drive. There is no direct access to Pinecrest Drive, which spans I-474 in this scene. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 west
Construction during the I-74 and I-155 Improvement Project expanded Interstate 74 to six overall lanes from Morton Avenue (Exit 102) to the westbound split with I-474 (Exit 99). Work ran from April 2013 to fall 2016. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Through traffic to Galesburg and the Quad Cities is directed to use Interstate 474 to bypass the Murray Baker Bridge and Downtown Peoria. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Pleasant Hill Road spans Interstate 74 west ahead of the left-hand ramp (Exit 99) for I-474 to Creve Coeur, North Pekin and Bartonville. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Two lanes part ways for Interstate 474 west to PIA Airport and Bellevue as I-74 reduces back to four overall lanes between Exit 99 and the Murray Baker Bridge approach at U.S. 150. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Shields stand at the Exit 99 gore point for Interstates 74 and 474 west. I-474 travels a mostly rural route west to the merge with U.S. 24 across the Shade-Lohmann Bridge. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 74 west
Diagrammatic overheads preceded the trumpet style interchange at the westbound split of Interstates 74 and 474. They were replaced by APL signs during the I-74 and I-155 Improvement Project. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Signs originally directed truckers to use I-474 around Peoria. These were amended to reference simply through traffic following the Upgrade 74 project. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Older guide signs for Exit 99 include the city of Pekin for the Illinois 29 south from I-474 and the village of Creve Coeur. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Perspective from Interstate 74 east
Interstates 74 and 474 converge through eastern reaches of the East Peoria city limits. Exit 99 provides access to the Peoria bypass west to Creve Coeur and the Shade-Lohmann Bridge for local and truck traffic from Pinehurst Road and the city center. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Exit 99 departs just east of the diamond interchange (Exit 98) with Pinehurst Road for I-474 west to General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA). Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Interstate 474 connects I-74 with Illinois 29 south from Creve Coeur to North Pekin and the Tazewell County seat of Pekin. Photo taken by Joseph Barnes (08/13/16).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 74 east
This sign bridge for I-474 west at Exit 99 was replaced by a new assembly by 2015. The empty sign bracket to the left may have held a panel for I-155 south (Exit 101) at one point. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).

Sources:

  1. Pekin Area Regional Chamber Transportation Issues - this page lays out information on several Central Illinois transportation issues, including the Interstate 474 Ring Road, Illinois 336 expressway from Quincy to Peoria, Illinois 29 four-lane at-grade expressway, and proposed Peoria to Chicago Expressway
  2. "Action Requested: Approve a Resolution Supporting Corridor P2 of the Proposed Eastern Bypass Project." City of Peoria, request for council action, June 26, 2012.
  3. "Peoria area has full 'wish list' of infrastructure projects." Journal Star (Peoria, IL), February 21, 2015.
  4. "Leaders: City Needs Highways to Grow > Interstate 474, Peoria-to-Chicago Route Deemed Vital to City." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), June 30, 1996.
  5. "Road to Change > When Interstate 74 Cut Through Peoria in the Late '50s, The Drive Toward Future Growth Began. The Interstate's Impact on the City Has Been Significant During the Past Four Decades, But Officials Today are Still Looking Toward the Future." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), June 30, 1996.
  6. "What's in a Name > Plenty, if It's the Moniker of a Central Illinois Landmark." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), September 26, 1993.
  7. "Hotline - Bridge named for former Pekin legislators." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), October 31, 2003.
  8. "Road to Change > Building Interstates." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), June 30, 1996.
  9. "Route 24 may take new direction to allow Peoria development." Peoria Journal Star, The (IL), June 11, 2010.

Page Updated September 6, 2016.