Illinois Route 53

Illinois Route 53 (IL 53) is an arterial north–south state highway in northeast Illinois. IL 53 runs from Main Street west of historic U.S. Route 66 (US 66) in Gardner to IL 83 in Long Grove, a distance of 82.02 miles (132.00 km).[1] It mainly cuts through the western suburbs of Chicago, passes through Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Crest Hill and Joliet, merging into I-55 at Gardner.

Illinois Route 53
IL 53 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length82.02 mi[1] (132.00 km)
Major junctions
South end CR 49 in Gardner
North end IL 83 in Long Grove
CountiesGrundy, Will, DuPage, Cook, Lake
Highway system
IL 52IL 54

Route description

IL 53 is one of the few state highways routed along expressways in the state. Before it becomes an expressway, IL 53 starts out in Long Grove going southwest towards Palatine. South of Lake-Cook Road, IL 53 follows Hicks Road, Rand Road (concurrent with U.S. 12) and Dundee Road (concurrent with Illinois 68) through Palatine's northeast side before it joins an expressway that starts un-numbered (technically a spur of 53), one mile (1.6 km) north at Lake-Cook Rd as a bypass of northeast Palatine. The northeast Palatine stretch goes through the Rand and Dundee intersection, one of the country's deadliest intersections in traffic accidents. It forms the other half of the Interstate 290/IL 53 combination in Schaumburg before being routed west onto Biesterfield Road and back south onto Rohlwing Road. Until its first junction with I-55 by Bolingbrook, it remains a mostly 2 to 4 lane road, largely replaced by the I-290 and I-355 combo. In the suburb of Lombard, IL 53 is called Columbine Avenue.

South of the first junction with I-55, IL 53 follows the path of historic Route 66 in Illinois and parallels Interstate 55, entering downtown Joliet, which is about four miles (6 km) east of I-55. IL 53 also passes directly in front of Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. From Joliet it follows the original Route 66 alignment to the south. It remains a four-lane divided highway for about 15 miles (24 km), passing through Elwood and the former Joliet Arsenal, part of which is now the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Route 53 narrows to two lanes just outside Wilmington and crosses the Kankakee River in downtown Wilmington. It then continues southwest through Braidwood and Braceville on its way to Gardner, where it loops around the southern part of town before ending at Main Street.


SBI Route 53 ran from Romeoville to Long Grove on Rohlwing Road and Hicks Road from 1924 to 1963. From 1963 through 1970, it was routed onto a new freeway from Addison to Arlington Heights and cosigned with I-90 until that was changed to I-290.

In 1967 IL 53 was extended to Gardner, and in 1995 IL 129 was routed onto IL 53 south of Braidwood. This lasted a year until IL 129 was dropped entirely south of Braidwood. Near the northern end, the freeway was extended from Dundee Road to Lake–Cook Road in 1989.[3] In 1990, with the construction of I-355, IL 53 was moved off the I-290/I-355 combination south of Biesterfield Road and back onto its original alignment.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) proposed in 1999 to widen IL 53 south of US 20 (Lake Street) and generally north of I-88 to a five-lane section. Opposition from a citizen group called NIFTI (Neighbors Influencing Fifty-Three improvement) began to lobby for a smaller expansion plan to three lanes. The road south of Lake Street runs through predominantly residential areas and light industry. The term context sensitive design and solutions was introduced to the state of Illinois through the efforts of this group.

For over 40 years, IL 53 had been at the center of a major dispute regarding a northern extension of its freeway segment into Lake County. The studied corridor ran from the current terminus of the freeway at Lake–Cook Road north to a planned bypass for IL 120 near Grayslake.[4] The combined IL 53/IL 120 extension would have formed a large T-shape in the center of Lake County, with the IL 120 bypass carrying through traffic from US 12 to the Tri-State Tollway around Gurnee.[5]

The extension was opposed by several organizations, notably the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, and many residents of Long Grove, which lies in the path of the highway. The Sierra Club opposed the roadway extension because it would have been routed through wetlands and the group had concerns about suburban sprawl and increased pollution.[6] On the other hand, proponents argued that congestion in Lake County had already reached economically damaging levels, that the existing network of roads in the county was insufficient for the demand.[7] In an April 2009 non-binding referendum, registered voters in Lake County approved (76% yes to 24% no) the proposal to extend IL 53, with a 16% turnout rate.[8]

Due to funding constraints with IDOT, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA) to plan and construct the IL 53 extension in 1993, and was studied on and off for 25 years.[9] In 2019, the latest study was suspended, effectively cancelling the project.[10]

Major intersections

GrundyGardner0.00.0 CR 49 (Main Road, Gardner Road) to I-55Southern terminus of IL 53
0.200.32 Historic US 66 west BloomingtonSouthern end of Historic US 66 concurrency
WillBraidwood8.6013.84 IL 113 (Main Street)
Wilmington13.2021.24 IL 102 east (Water Street)Western terminus of IL 102
Joliet28.3045.54 US 52 east (Doris Avenue)Southern end of US 52 concurrency
28.7046.19 I-80 to I-55 Gary, Indiana, Moline, Rock IslandI-80 exit 132
29.1046.83 US 6 / US 52 west (McDonough Street)Northern end of US 52 concurrency; Southern end of US 6 concurrency
29.8047.96 US 6 / US 30 east (Jefferson Street)Eastbound one-way; Northern end of US 6 concurrency
30.0048.28 US 30 west (Cass Street)Westbound one-way
JolietCrest Hill
city line
31.9051.34 IL 7 south (Theodore Street)Southern end of IL 7 concurrency
Crest Hill34.9056.17 IL 7 north (Renwick Road, 9th Street)Northern end of IL 7 concurrency
Romeoville40.3064.86 Historic US 66 east (Joliet Road) to I-55 north ChicagoNorthern end of Historic US 66 concurrency
Bolingbrook41.5066.79 I-55 Chicago, BloomingtonI-55 exit 267
DuPageLisle49.7079.98 US 34 (Ogden Avenue)Interchange
I-88 east / IL 110 (CKC) east (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) Chicago
I-88 exit 130; no direct access from or to I-88/IL 110 west
Glen Ellyn52.3084.17 IL 56 (Butterfield Road)
54.3087.39 IL 38 (Roosevelt Road)Access via Pershing Avenue and DuPage Boulevard
Lombard58.2093.66 IL 64 (North Avenue)
Addison61.4098.81 US 20 (Lake Street)
Itasca63.00101.39 IL 19 (Irving Park Road)
64.00103.00 IL 390 (Elgin O'Hare Tollway) to I-290IL 390 exits 11 and 12A
CookElk Grove Village65.40105.25 I-290 east ChicagoSouthern end of I-290 concurrency; south end of freeway; I-290 exit 4
Schaumburg68.20109.76 IL 72 (Higgins Road)
69.20111.37 IL 58 (Golf Road)
Rolling Meadows69.70112.17
I-90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) Chicago, Rockford
I-290 ends
Northern end of I-290 concurrency; western terminus of I-290; I-90 exit 68
70.00112.65 IL 62 (Algonquin Road)
71.40114.91Kirchoff RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
71.80115.55Euclid Avenue
Rolling MeadowsPalatine
village line
72.90117.32 US 14 (Northwest Highway)
PalatineArlington Heights
village line
74.00119.09Palatine Road
75.30121.18 US 12 (Rand Road)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
76.00122.31 IL 68 east (Dundee Road)Southern end of IL 68 concurrency; north end of freeway
Palatine78.80126.82 US 12 east (Rand Road) / IL 68 west (Dundee Road)Northern end of IL 68 concurrency; southern end of US 12 concurrency
77.60124.89 US 12 west (Rand Road)Northern end of US 12 concurrency
LakeLong Grove81.82131.68 IL 83 (McHenry Road)Northern terminus of IL 53
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  2. Carlson, Rick (March 15, 2006). "Routes 41 thru 60". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved March 23, 2006.
  3. Springfield Bureau (May 26, 1988). "Expressway Projects on the List for Chicago Area". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
  4. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Proposed Alignment for IL Route 53/120 North Extension (PDF) (Map). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  5. Rt. 53 North Extension Lake County (Map). Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  6. "Guide to Route 53 Extension (FAP 342)". Illinois Sierra Club. Retrieved April 11, 2006.
  7. "Home Page". Build 53 Now!. Retrieved April 11, 2006.
  8. "Illinois Route 53 Extension Referendum Results, April 7, 2009 Unofficial Results" (PDF). Lake County Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  9. Ibata, David (August 28, 1993). "Tollway Agency, IDOT to Share Planning for Illinois 53 Extension". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  10. "As tollway ends Route 53 extension study, now the question: Do what with that Lake County land?". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, IL. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  11. Google (February 18, 2017). "Overview Map of IL 53" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 18, 2017.

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