Illinois Route 3

Illinois Route 3 (IL 3) is a 187.44-mile-long (301.66 km) major north–south arterial state highway in southwestern Illinois. It has its southern terminus at Cairo Junction (about four miles (6.4 km) north of Cairo) at the intersection of U.S. Route 51 (US 51) and Illinois Route 37 (IL 37), and its northern terminus in Grafton at IL 100.

Illinois Route 3
IL 3 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length187.44 mi[1] (301.66 km)
ExistedNovember 5, 1918[2]–present
Major junctions
South end US 51 / IL 37 in Cairo
North end IL 100 in Grafton
CountiesAlexander, Union, Jackson, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Madison, Jersey
Highway system
IL 2IL 4

Route description

The majority of IL 3 has four lanes from Waterloo to Godfrey, with a brief six-lane stretch from the entrance to the McKinley Bridge in Venice to near the River's Edge area (formerly the Army Depot of Granite City) and around Alton, and a brief two-laned section between its separation from I-55, I-64, and US 40 in East St. Louis and Venice. It is also two-laned the majority of the southern part from Waterloo to Mound City around the Shawnee National Forest Area. It briefly overlaps IL 111 at Alton, I-255 and US 50, and IL 127 north of Cache.

IL 3 parallels the Mississippi River for the entire length of its journey, and it carries the Illinois portion of the Great River Road for most of its length. South of St. Louis, I-55 is its parallel on the west side of the river, along with US 61. The road runs along many historical sites along the Mississippi River, and is the closest Illinois state highway to the old state capital of Kaskaskia.


Original 1918 route

The original IL 3 route went from Chester in southern Illinois to Morrison in northwest Illinois via Rock Island. With the completion of highway bridges over the Mississippi River (e.g. Clark Bridge at Alton) U.S. Route 67 (US 67) was extended from St. Louis to Godfrey and replaced the original IL 3 to Rock Island. Today, this route is still the major north–south corridor for western Illinois—and the only major Illinois north–south route never upgraded to the Interstate Highway System like I-57, I-55, or I-39.

Current route

On August 4, 1976, the new Berm Highway from Wood River to Alton was opened.[3] It was signed as IL 3, which left the old alignment on Lewis and Clark Boulevard and Broadway unmarked. However, on June 29, 1987, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) built the new Madison Avenue extension in Wood River and marked that road and the Berm Highway as IL 143[4] and truncated IL 3 at IL 143 (highway signage and IDOT planning maps suggested otherwise, however). This new terminus for Route 3 was short-lived, however.

On November 26, 1987, a new section of Homer M. Adams Parkway in Alton opened to traffic, and IL 3 was extended onto Lewis and Clark Boulevard (a former IL 3 alignment) back into Alton and onto the extension. IL 3 was then cosigned with IL 111 until the intersection with Godfrey Road, where IL 3 takes over the former IL 100 alignment.[5]

Major intersections

US 51 south / IL 37 north / Great River Road (National Route) south / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) south Cairo, Mounds, National Cemetery
Southern end of US 51/Great River Road/Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
0.81.3 I-57 / US 51 north Sikeston, MO, Mount VernonNorthern end of US 51 overlap; I-57 exit 1
Olive BranchHorseshoe Lake Conservation Area, Miller City
ThebesThebes Road - Thebes, Thebes Historical Courthouse
8.513.7 IL 127 north Jonesboro, Mounds
McClure26.041.8 IL 146 west Cape GirardeauSouthern end of IL 146 overlap
UnionWare37.760.7 IL 146 east / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) spur Jonesboro, Lincoln-Douglas Debate SiteNorthern end of IL 146 overlap
JacksonGrand Tower51.382.6
Great River Road Spur north (Grand Tower Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park, Business District
Great River Road Spur south (Power Plant Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park
Gorham Road - Gorham, Neunert, Jacobstate maintained
Town Creek Road - Sandridge, Little Grand Canyon
60.697.5 IL 149 east Murphysboro, Carbondale, Lake Murphysboro State Park
65.0104.6 IL 151 north Lake Kinkaid, Ava, Johnson Creek Recreational Area
Great River Road (National Route) north (Truck Bypass) River Bridge
Northern end of Great River Road overlap; state maintained
Chester83.4134.2 IL 150 west (State Street) River Bridge, PenitentiarySouthern end of IL 150 overlap
83.6134.5 IL 150 east (State Street) SteelevilleNorthern end of IL 150 overlap
83.9135.0Evergreen Cemetery, Governor Bond State MemorialSouthern end of Great River Road spur overlap
84.2135.5 Great River Road south (River Bridge Spur/Truck Bypass) River Bridge, PenitentiaryNorthern end of Great River Road spur overlap; southern end of Great River Road overlap
Great River Road Spur (Shawneetown Trail) Fort Kaskaskia Historic Site, Pierre Menard Home, Randolph County Conservation Area
state maintained to Fort Kaskaskia
Roots Road - River Ferry, Modoc, Kaskaskia Lock and Dam, Fort de Chartres Historic Sitestate maintained
EvansvilleEvansville Road - Evansville
IL 155 west / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) north / Great River Road Spur Prairie du Rocher, Fort de Chartres Historic Site, River Ferry
Northern end of Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
Red Bud108.6174.8 IL 154 east (Market Street) / IL 159 north (Main Street) Belleville, Sparta
MonroeKaskaskia Road - Burksville, Renault, Illinois Caverns State Natural Area
Waterloo122.2196.7 IL 156 (Park Street) Fairgrounds, Wartburg, Maeystown, Valmeyer
Columbia129.5208.4 IL 158 east BellevilleInterchange
133.1214.2Quarry Road/Palmer RoadInterchange; southern end of freeway
134.3216.1 I-255 south / US 50 west (J.B. Bridge) St. Louis County, Memphis, TulsaSouthern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; IL 3 south follows exit 6
St. ClairDupo136.5219.79Dupo
137.4221.1 I-255 north / US 50 east ChicagoNorthern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; IL 3 north follows exit 10
139.1223.9Stolle Road – Dupo, Martin Boismenue HouseNorthern end of freeway; state maintained
Cahokia141.2227.2 IL 157 north (Camp Jackson Road) Nicholas Jarrot Mansion, Holy Family Church
East St. Louis143.7231.3Eighth StreetSouthern end of freeway
144.2232.11 I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west to I-70 west / I-44 St. LouisSouthern end of I-55/I-64/US 40 overlap; IL 3 south follows exit 1
144.8233.013th Street / Tudor AvenueSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
144.8233.0Barack Obama Avenue – East St. Louis Business DistrictNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
145.7234.52AThird Street – Eads BridgeSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
146.0235.02B-CM.L. King BridgeDowntown St. LouisSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
146.2235.3 I-55 north / US 40 east / Great River Road north to I-70 east Chicago, IndianapolisNorthern end of I-55/US 40/Great River Road overlap; IL 3 north follows exit 3
146.8236.3 I-64 east LouisvilleNorthern end of I-64 overlap; IL 3 north follows exit 4
Fairmont City To I-70 / I-55 north / I-64 eastI-70 exit 2
MadisonVenice151.1243.2McKinley BridgeSt. Louisstate maintained
Granite City158.4254.9 Historic US 66 east (Chain of Rocks Road)Southern end of Historic US 66 overlap; state maintained
158.6255.2 I-270 / Great River Road south / Historic US 66 west St. Charles, EffinghamSouthern end of Great River Road overlap; I-270 exit 3; northern end of Historic US 66 overlap
Great River Road Spur (New Poag Road) Lewis and Clark Historic Site, SIUE Campus
Southern end of Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap; former US 67 south
HartfordHawthorne Street - Hartfordstate maintained
Wood River165.6266.5 IL 143 / Great River Road north / Meeting of the Great Rivers north Alton Riverfront, Alton, Wood River, Business DistrictNorthern end of Great River Road/Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap
East AltonSt. Louis Avenue - East Altonformer US 67 Alt. south
AltonBroadwayformer US 67 Alt. north; state maintained
169.3272.5 IL 111 south / IL 140 (College Avenue) BethaltoInterchange; southern end of IL 111 overlap
Godfrey173.0278.4 IL 111 north (Godfrey Road) to US 67 / State Street Clark Bridge, Lewis and Clark Community College, JacksonvilleNorthern end of IL 111 overlap
Jersey182.0292.9 IL 109 north Jerseyville
Grafton190.0305.8 IL 100 / Great River Road / Meeting of the Great Rivers
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  2. Carlson, Rick (March 15, 2006). "Routes 1 through 20". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved March 24, 2006..
  3. Alton Telegraph. August 4, 1976. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Alton Telegraph. June 30, 1987. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Alton Telegraph. November 26, 1987. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Google Maps estimate

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