Ultimate Interstates:Great Lakes/Midwest
The Great Lakes and Ohio Valley region comprises the states surrounding the central Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley this area includes Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. This region would see a number of interstate improvements. Maps located to the right show the proposed interstate highway upgrades and proposed route numbers.
Ultimate Interstate 51 is a conceptual interstate corridor travelling from St Paul, MN southward through Iowa and Missouri ending at the interchange of I-70 and I-64 west of St. Louis Missouri. This freeway would provide a interstate quality corridor linking St.Louis with the Twin Cities and eastern Iowa serving citied like Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. The highway could also connect to I-35 in Iowa as a possible alternate routing.
Ultimate Interstate 61 is a conceptual corridor that generally follows along the IL-394 and US-41 corridors along the Indiana/Illinois state line. this corridor is seeing much more traffic as trucks are using it as an alternative to the busier I-65 and I-57 corridors located along either side. This would also connect Terre Haute, Vincennes, and Evansville to Chicago and the I-69 corridor. Since this corridor is a major alternate truck route the route could use an upgrade to full interstate standards. At minimum a continuous flow concept and reduced conflict intersections are a must for this corridor if it is not upgraded to interstate standards.
Ultimate Interstate 67 is a proposal being floated about by several states to construct a new corridor between I-65 and I-69 that would link cities like Bowling Green, Owensboro, South Bend, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Ludington, and northern Michigan (I-75). This concept is not widely supported as many other interstate routes lie nearby and the route would center on Indianapolis which already has a congested freeway network. There are a number of proposals for this corridor including proposals in Indiana and Michigan using sections of US-31, US-131 and US-231. This includes a proposed Mid-State Corridor in Indiana which is being considered as a potential connection from I-69 to Owensboro.
Ultimate Interstate 69 corridor is a master plan corridor currently being developed and constructed throughout the midwestern and southern states that will ultimately link border cities like Laredo and Brownsville with the Canadian border and Great Lakes port cities. Many sections have been constructed, yet many other sections remain to be constructed and not moved much further than the planning stages. The states with the most completed sections of I-69 are Indiana and Kentucky. Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas have also began development of their corridors. Arkansas and Louisiana have yet to construct or sign any portion of the proposed corridor. Part of the project will also involve 2 major river crossings one of them being a toll crossing.
Ultimate Interstate 73 and Ultimate Interstate 74 are part of a corridor concept known as the 73/74/75 corridor system. While I-75 is complete. the I-74 and I-73 corridors are proposed to enhance the I-75 corridor centered on Ohio and connecting Michigan and the Carolina Coast. North Carolina has been the most aggressive in promoting and constructing the corridors, however other states seem less motivated about designation and construction of the corridor. Additionally the corridor meanders through some rather sparsely populated areas which may negate the need for the corridor. The likelihood of construction of the corridor and the the I-74 gap will likely never be closed.
Ultimate Interstate 76 Extension is a proposal to extend I-76 westward from its existing terminus south of Cleveland westward through Ft Wayne and across north central Indiana connection to either I-74 near Bloomington or I-80 via the I-180 spur depending on the ultimate routing chosen. The construction of additional corridors to bypass more congested areas such as Cleveland, Toledo, and Chicago is very much needed. This rerouting of traffic will also spur economic growth in the cities through which it passes.
Ultimate Interstate 98 Is a conceptual northern tier interstate corridor travelling across Wisconsin along the Wis 29 corridor and then northward across the upper peninsula of Michigan ending at I-75. A second segment of this corridor would travel from northern New York to Maine connecting to I-95. While these corridors would not connect they would form the northernmost interstate in the interstate system.
This is a conceptual option to construct two interstate highway corridors that would cross each other in Dubuque, IA. The first corridor would travel across central Iowa from Sioux City eastward to Rockford Illinois and Chicago (via I-90). The other corridor would travel in a general northeasterly direction from I-72 near Hull, IL through Galesburg, Quad Cities, Dubuque, IA and connecting to Madison, Wisconsin. This second corridor could be extended further north to connect to the Fox Cities region near Fond du Lac (I-41). These corridors would connect the states of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin and provide additional connections to the west to relieve congestion on major interstate corridors such as I-39, I-55, I-57, I-70, I-80, I-94 and I-90.
There are several auxiliary interstate routes either under construction or being developed throughout western Kentucky and southern Indiana. Including these are I-165, I-265, I-365, I-169, I-369, and I-569. Most of these interstates are created by renumbering the existing Kentucky parkway system to an interstate number. Parts of this system were at one time being considered for a possible I-66 corridor that ultimately failed to become reality, instead they have now become spurs of either I-65 and I-69 instead.
There are some ways to enhance the Interstate system in metro Chicago. One would be to route I-94 along the tri-state tollway for its entire length. Chicago metro relies heavily on tolled routes in order to supplement its free interstate routes so these routes need to move to total electronic tolling and toll-by-plate in order to keep traffic moving and prevent bottlenecks at tolling plazas. I-41 would replace I-94 through downtown and would end at the I-94/I-80/ILL 394 interchange near South Holland, IL.
Indianapolis freeways are becoming more congested. I-465 is a good example of this as it also serves as the mainline for I-74 and I-69 as well which will put more traffic along these routes. There are several enhancements that can improve this including a toll outer loop expressway concept that would address long term growth and congestion. Original plans for an outer beltway known as the Indiana Commerce Connector never made it beyond conceptual and were largely met with opposition. A scaled back version of this plan could be more viable instead.
Ideally the interstate numbering system cannot be held to its original convention that interstates be numbered in sequential order, however some strategic renumberings in Chicago and Wisconsin can help reduce the number of overlap routes and provide better route continuity and remain in keeping with the rest of the interstate plan.