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