Interstate 180 Illinois
Constructed to provide access from I-80 to the Hennepin steel mill, Interstate 180 in Illinois is a 13 mile long spur from I-80 south to Hennepin along the Illinois River. The freeway is lightly traveled, with 2015 IDOT traffic counts ranging from 2,050 vehicles per day (vpd) north of Illinois 26 to 3,550 vpd south of it.
I-180 turns east at IL 29 to combine with IL 26 at Exit 12 and cross the Illinois River into Hennepin. The freeway end transitions traffic onto IL 71 at the village of around 750.
While there are no immediate plans to extend Interstate 180 south from its current terminus in Hennepin, there were plans to widen IL 29 from the connector to I-180 south to the access road linking it with the freeway (Peoria Ring Road) along IL 6 south from Mossville. IL 29 would bypass the communities of Chillicothe and Henry as an at-grade, four-lane expressway to connect the Interstate 80 corridor with Peoria.
A public hearing for the expansion of IL 29 was held in June 2006. This was preceded by an allocation of $1.6 million included in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU legislation for preliminary engineering and land acquisition. The corridor was studied by the Illinois Department of Transportation to Spring 2008, and the total project cost at the time was estimated to be approximately $600 million.1
Several other Peoria area road project were considered during the same time frame. This included the completion of the Peoria Ring Road by connecting the north end of IL 6 with the east end of Interstate 474 via a new Illinois River bridge near Mossville. An additional project proposed was the construction of a new IL 336 expressway from Macomb northeast to Peoria. The proposed “Peoria to Chicago” expressway was also under consideration, with the general proposed route taking a diagonal path from the northeastern quadrant of the Ring Road northeast toward Chicago. Options including tieing it into I-39, I-55 or overlaying IL 29 and I-180.1
A four and a half mile section of Interstate 180, from a point south of Bureau Junction east across the Illinois River to Illinois Route 71 at Hennepin, opened to traffic in 1969. This completed the route.2
The 873 acre site housing the former Hennepin steel mill was purchased by Hennepin Industrial Development LLC in March 2017 for $5 million. The plant previously closed operations in 2009, with the bulk of its production assets eventually sold or moved elsewhere. Some demolition work took place at the site prior to the sale in 2017, with the new owner continuing work to remove the majority of the former production areas.3
Over the course of its lifespan, the 1.35 million square foot complex produced steel for four different companies and once employed around 700 people. The plant was built in 1966 and operated initially by the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. and then by LTV Corporation.3
North End – Princeton, Illinois
North End Throwback
South End – Hennepin, Illinois
I-180 turns east at a three wye interchange with an unnumbered freeway spur, inventoried by IDOT as Federal Aid Primary Route 318, extending 2.2 miles south to IL 29. IL 29 passes under the freeway to the immediate east with no direct access as it travels south toward Putnam. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).
- Pekin Area Regional Chamber Transportation Issues
http://www.pekin.net/Transportation.htm– this page laid out information on several Central Illinois transportation issues, including the Interstate 474 Ring Road, IL 336 expressway from Quincy to Peoria, IL 29 four-lane at-grade expressway, and the proposed Peoria to Chicago Expressway
- “Illinois Schedules Its Largest Highway Building Program.” Chicago Tribune (IL), February 16, 1969.
- “Shuttered Hennepin steel mill being demolished.” Journal Star (Peoria, IL), April 19, 2017.
- FAI 180 over Illinois River. BridgeReports.com.
Page updated November 2, 2020.