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For anyone uninitiated in its history, Lake County’s mythical Route 53 Extension always seems mired in the same tedious, ceaseless wrangling that has thwarted it for 50 years. But that’s not really true anymore.
For the first time since — well, forever — there appears to be a real chance the 12-mile route into the county’s heart could actually be built.
We say that because the decades of fussing over details have at least evolved into negotiating the only insurmountable problem — how to pay for it. Given the $2 billion price tag, only the state’s tollway system or the federal government (or both) can handle that financial load. Drivers almost surely will pay a toll on it for the rest of eternity.
To this we can only offer a giant cheer to the very smart blue-ribbon commission of civic leaders and business shakers who are charged with solving the design, ecological and cultural barriers.
We have been more or less in favor of any rational solution to this road-that-doesn’t-exist-but-should for 50 years. For the first time in that span, the road has a fighting chance. Route 53 should be the artery that connects Cook and Lake counties, but it peters out at Lake-Cook Road and the 103,000 drivers that travel it every day must find their own way north.
That reality is both the magic lure and feared outcome that has stopped a new road from eventually linking with Route 120.
Some communities want the vitality of more visitors. Others see potential sprawl as a plague. That dichotomy has persisted for 50 years.
But the 29-person task force has a chance to leapfrog that history because it accepts why not every community loves a new highway.
And quite profoundly, they have come to believe a four-lane 45-mph toll road could answer almost every cultural concern and still move traffic. The concept is environmentally benign.
Now all they need is two billion dollars.
If you think you may be affected by the Route 53/120 Extension /or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at www.landownerattorneys.com.
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