Interstate 180 Illinois

Interstate 180 Illinois
History
North End
South End

Overview

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 IL 6 freeway (Peoria Ring Road) 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

Route Information

  • North End – Princeton, IL

  • South End – Hennepin, IL

  • Mileage – 13.19

  • Cities – Princeton

  • JunctionsI-80

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-180 north of IL 26 - Bureau County

A vastly empty scene along Interstate 180 north of the exchange with IL 26. 05/06/10

History

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

Hennepin Steel Mill

Approaching the Hennepin steel mill (operated at the time by LTV Hennepin Steel) along the access road extending north from I-180, IL 26 and IL 71. Photo by Don Hargraves (08/02).

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 I-80 – Princeton, Illinois

I-180 North at I-80

I-180 north at I-80 - Bureau County, IL

Interstate 180 leads due north 1.5 miles from a diamond interchange with U.S. 6 to conclude at I-80. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-180 north at I-80 - Bureau County, IL

The succeeding overheads for Interstate 80 east to Joliet and west to the Quad Cities were relocated from a sign bridge to the CR 1650 N overpass by 2018. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-180 north at I-80 - Bureau County, IL

I-80 travels 66 miles east to the south Chicagoland suburb of Joliet. Davenport, Iowa, the largest of the Quad Cities, lies 68 miles to the west along the Mississippi River. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-180 north at I-80 - Bureau County, IL

A pair of end shields for Interstate 180 stand at the ramp separation for I-80. 06/21/15

I-80 East at I-180

I-80 east at I-180 - Princeton, IL

I-180 / Exit 61 is the lone off-ramp along a 13.2 mile long stretch along Interstate 80 east between Princeton and Ladd. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-80 east at I-180 - Bureau County, IL

I-180 connects with U.S. 6 two miles to the south of Exit 61. U.S. 6 combines with Interstate 80 at the subsequent eastbound interchange. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-80 east at I-180 - Bureau County, IL

County Route 27 spans I-80 a half mile ahead of Exit 61 for I-180 south. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-80 east at I-180 - Bureau County, IL

Exit 61 departs I-80 east for I-180 south. Interstate 180 connects with IL 29 to the north of Putnam. IL 29 travels from the rural community southward along the Illinois River to the city of Peoria. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-180 North End Throwback

I-180 North at I-80

I-180 north at I-80 - 2005

Former overheads for Interstate 80 posted along I-180 beyond the County Road 1650 N overpass in Selby township. 09/04/05

I-180 north at I-80 - 2005

These overheads were also replaced in kind by 2010. I-80 continues east 14 miles from I-180 to Peru and west 4.5 miles to Princeton. 09/04/05

I-180 north at I-80 - 2007

Replaced end shield assembly for Interstate 180, posted within the freeway median. Photo by Jeff Morrison (07/03/07).

I-80 West at I-180

I-80 west at I-180 - 2005

This ground level sign was the first for Exit 61 and Interstate 180 south. 09/04/05

I-80 west at I-180 - 1976

Former overheads posted one mile ahead of the trumpet interchange (Exit 61) with I-180 south. The control city for I-80 uses the Iowa capital city in place of Davenport, which is referenced for I-80 further east in the Chicago area. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1976).

I-80 west at I-180 - 2005

Continuing west from the crossing of East Bureau Creek toward Exit 61. Signs for I-180 also reference Peoria for the connection with IL 29 south through Henry and Chillicothe. 09/04/05

I-80 west at I-180 - 2005

Leading south from Interstate 80, IDOT recorded 3,000 vpd in 2015 along the initial stretch of I-180 toward U.S. 6 and the settlement of Coal Hollow. U.S. 6 heads west to the Bureau County seat of Princeton. 09/04/05

South End Illinois 26 Illinois 71 – Hennepin, Illinois

I-180 South at IL 26 IL 71

I-180 south at IL 29 - Bureau

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).

I-180 south at IL 26 - Bureau

IL 26 combines with I-180 southbound from a half diamond interchange at Big Bureau Creek. The two advance east across the Illinois River to the village of Hennepin. 05/09/10

I-180 south at Illinois River

Rising to a height of 42 feet above the Illinois River, I-180/IL 26 span the waterway across the Gudmund “Sonny” Jessen Bridge. The nondescript bridge totals 3,083 feet in length with a 65 foot deck accommodating four lanes of traffic with no shoulders.4 05/09/10

I-180 south at IL 26 - Bureau

Lowering from the Illinois River, I-180/IL 26 east enter Putnam County. IL 26 branches south in a half mile through rural reaches of east Hennepin. 09/04/05

I-180 south at IL 71 - Hennepin

Power Plant Road passes over Interstate 180, one half mile ahead of the diamond interchange with IL 26 south and the transition to IL 71 east. 05/09/10

I-180 south at IL 26 - Bureau

South from I-180 and Hennepin, IL 26 follows the east banks of the Illinois River to Lacon and East Peoria. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

I-180 south at IL 71 - Hennepin

As Interstate 180 ends, IL 71 east to Mark, Granville and Cedar Point begins. The overpass brings IL 26 west onto I-180 north while also connecting with the entrance to the Hennepin steel plant site. 05/09/10

IL 71 West at I-180 IL 26

IL 71 west at I-180/IL 26 - Hennepin

IL 71 expands from a rural two-lane highway into a four-lane freeway (I-180) just beyond Coffee Creek. Photo by Matthew Salomone (07/20/06).

IL 71 west at I-180/IL 26 - Hennepin

IL 26 north ties into the west end of IL 71, 18 miles north from the city of Lacon. High Street (former IL 26) stems west from the state route nearby to the Hennepin village center. 09/04/05

IL 71 west at I-180/IL 26 - Hennepin

Entering the diamond interchange with IL 26 south and the access road north to the former Hennepin steel mill. 09/04/05

IL 71 west at I-180/IL 26 - Hennepin

IL 71 concludes a 69-mile route from Oswego as Interstate 180 northbound begins. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

IL 26 North at I-180

IL 26 north at I-180 - Hennepin

IL 26 combines with Interstate 180 west to span the Illinois River. IL 26 formerly crossed the river to the immediate south of the freeway, using what is now County Road 1050 N. Photo by Jeff Morrison (07/03/07).

IL 26 north at I-180 - Hennepin

The entrance road to the former LTV Hennepin Steel Plant extended north from IL 26 and I-180. The bulk of the facility was demolished in June 2017. Photo by Don Hargraves (08/02).

I-180 IL 26 North

I-180 north at IL 26 - Hennepin

The first confirming marker for I-180 north precedes the Power Plant Road overpass. IL 26 combines with I-180 west for 2.6 miles to Exit 12. The state route meets the freeway for a second time between Bureau Junction and Princeton. Photo by Peter Johnson (05/31/20).

Sources:

  1. 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
  2. “Illinois Schedules Its Largest Highway Building Program.” Chicago Tribune (IL), February 16, 1969.
  3. “Shuttered Hennepin steel mill being demolished.” Journal Star (Peoria, IL), April 19, 2017.
  4. FAI 180 over Illinois River. BridgeReports.com.

Page updated November 2, 2020.