KANE CO - If you thought Illinois' Prairie Parkway project was shut down because it was a bad idea, not needed as badly as was publicized, was too expensive, was too much of an insider deal - any or some or all of the reasons mentioned - you're wrong. Those weren't the reasons at all. Environmentalists are taking credit for it. Openlands sent this email out earlier this week to inform us all their version of what really happened:
Openlands celebrates the Federal Highway Authority decision to retract its authorization for the Prairie Parkway, a 37-mile highway that would have cut through the western part of the Chicago region in Kane and Kendall Counties between Interstates I-80 and I-88.
Over the past six years, Openlands has been deeply involved in opposition to the highway. We were a core part of the broad coalition challenging the scientific and policy basis of IDOT's environmental analysis. We rallied state and local officials to oppose the highway. With Coalition 47+, we brought facts to local communities.
The billion-dollar, four-lane highway would have severely impacted communities, farmland, and natural areas in its path. It would have:
- eliminated almost 7,900 acres of some of the finest farmland in the world
- destroyed 54 acres of forests and degraded three acres of wetlands
- likely harmed a host of state threatened and endangered species, including greater redhorse fish and one of the only stands of Red Oaks left in Illinois
- polluted pristine streams with salt, metal, oil and other contaminants with 81 crossings.
Openlands congratulates the local residents along the route who adamantly protected their communities, their farmland for future generations, and the beautiful natural areas that sat in the wake of this project.
Openlands also extends its thanks to the 10 other partners of Coalition 47+, who for over a decade, championed a better local traffic alternative for the region, and to the Environmental Law and Policy Center for bringing a case to federal court, which ultimately brought this resolution.
Now you know what happened ...