Illinois Roads - IL 53 - N. of Romeoville

IL 53 north of Romeoville

Lake Cook Road, with a crowded TO and an interesting destination, courtesy Scott Colbert. While IL 53, and its continuation of I-290 and I-355, does serve the western suburbs, some of them have names, too. Now, there are just generic "SOUTH 53" signs in either direction. Someone read my site.

McHenry Rd. is IL 83 heading north from Wheeling. Its old alignment continues here as a county route. The northern terminus of IL 53 messes with continuity, requiring two turns to stay on McHenry. Long ago, what's now 53 fed into Robert Parker Coffin Rd., the only street named specifically after a corpse, and McHenry stayed a single road with no northern extension of 83. IL 53 was probably constructed to bypass Long Grove.

There's just something funny about Old Hicks. So funny, that the funny-looking 53 shield is also at Old Hicks Rd. It's actually on Lake Cook Rd. EB, not IL 53 SB, but Lake Cook Rd. is currently the northern terminus of the IL 53 freeway. For unknown reasons, IL 53 exits an interchange early, heads west to US 12 on IL 68, then turns back north on Hicks Road (just regular-aged hicks this time). The obvious routing is just to stay on the freeway until Lake Cook Rd. It wouldn't change the amount of state-maintained mileage, since the freeway is on the books as a spur anyway, and it's more logical for 53 through traffic. The SOUTH 53 is either a Cook County or Palatine sign. The WB side of Lake Cook Rd. is in Lake County, hence the name.

IL 53 has no exit numbers, even though it isn't a tollway, and that's because it's also not an Interstate. Some people have a fanciful idea for an I-53 that would include I-290 and I-355, preserving numbering continuity both with Interstates and with Route 53 and potentially encouraging a northward extension. But with both I-55 and I-57 coming out of Chicago to the south, and with I-90 and I-94 (and now I-41) heading north, there's really no room for another 2-digit north-south highway.

There's no mention that IL 53 continues along I-290 and the "Ike Expy." The green signs are all over the IL 53 SB/I-290 EB C-D road through this raft of interchanges. I trimmed the last photo to keep "Route 290" in the picture, just because the top banner is so unnecessary. "IKE" and JFK" will get you blank stares if you use them around Chicago; go for the full last names.

IL 53 SB hanging out with I-290 EB, first photo courtesy Scott Colbert.

IL 53 is being widened to four lanes with a center turn lane through Itasca. Photos head south from the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway.

Four lanes barely squeeze under this railroad overpass in Lisle, constraining the roadway that widens out on either side.

Although you wouldn't know it, IL 53 North joins I-290 West here. These are on Besterfield Rd. eastbound, heading away from Rohlwing Rd. NB, which had been carrying IL 53 until this point. The second photo is courtesy Doug Kerr.

I-290 WB ends as IL 53 NB continues.

First and fourth photos are courtesy Doug Kerr. IDOT has a policy of signs next to each other being the same height, which has the primary appearance of wasting a lot of space, especially when both signs are stretched just to fit a taller gantry.

Courtesy Doug Kerr, the expressway continues on a little longer than IL 53 can stay with it, and the center sign seems to not have its permanent layout yet. The north end of the freeway at Lake Cook Road (see first sign on this page) isn't exactly a stub - in fact, it's an everyday trumpet - but there are some plans for northward extension. Until that happens, it would be nice to keep IL 53 on it and send it west a short distance on Lake Cook, rather than having to sit through a few traffic lights and make an extra two turns. Even completing a little more of the cloverleaf-to-be at IL 68 would be decent of IDOT.

IL 68 WB at and just past US 12, which is where IL 53 leaves it after an oh-so-brief duplex and runs with US 12 back to its old alignment on Hicks Road, courtesy Doug Kerr. And yes, IL 53 did in fact just have an interchange with US 12. If you noticed that, you're doing better than IDOT (in terms of its routing of 53) already.
Continue south on IL 53/former US 66
Back to IL 53 main page

Onto I-290
Exit 1B to IL 72
Onto I-90
Onto US 14
Onto US 12
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