As I see that a number of state employees visit here every day, I'm hoping one will be kind enough to pass this along to you.
Having grown up in a scenic part of the state (who hasn't, really, eh? this is a beautiful state!), I have a fond appreciation for the scenic route. Even if it means spending an extra hour on the road. All of us could use an extra time out now and then.
The next time you're headed home to Chicago, take your lovely wife, Patti, along for the ride. And take this scenic route.
Start your trip around 2:30 in the afternoon, if you can. You have a cellphone. You deserve it!
Take I-55 up to Bloomington and make your way east to Gibson City. I'm a strong believer that government leaders should use the infrastructure they're sworn to uphold, so you should get off the expressways every now and then.
Once you're at Gibson City, take a left on Illinois Rt. 47 and go north. It's a very nice road most of the way, and even though it's pretty dreary outside right now, you might like it enough to take it in the summer when there's corn in the fields. It's a beautiful drive during growing season.
You'll find, I'm sure, that you'll make really good time on 47. That is, until you get to Morris. From there, much of the road up to Yorkville will be pretty easy to navigate again.
After that, however, you'll see what people in the second fastest-growing county in the country deal with every day.
It's not a bottleneck, like we're used to on the expressways. No gapers. No car fires or road rage.
It's a highway that's been ignored for decades. It's just plain gridlock, due to neglect. Much of it has been intentional.
Keep going, please! As you head north out of Yorkville (this is Tom Cross country, so talk to him about this) you'll find that things don't get much better. IDOT has added a number of traffic lights. On open highway! As you should be there around 4:00 if you timed it right, you should be seeing lots of truck transportation up and down the route. These are guys who, in most cases, have about an hour left to unload and get back to their terminal... OK. Let's not talk about it.
Don't get off Illinois Rt. 47! Drive north through Sugar Grove, (you're going to start moving now, unremarkably, because now you're driving on one of four lanes). Look to your right as you go past the expansive Waubonsee campus on your right, just before you get to I-88. Notice all the open land on that stretch?
Now, if you want to be home before 7 for time with the kids before bed, you've got to turn around and head south again to take 88 into the city. If you don't mind getting home until 9 or so, keep going on 47 and take 90 into the city.
Next morning, over coffee (this is why I think you should take Patti along), ask your wife if she thinks 47 needs to be widened from Morris to I-88. Probably not your usual coffee conversation on a Saturday, but ask her anyway. She's a sharp young woman.
Then think about all the manufacturing locations and technolody centers that could be built all around the Waubonsee campus, and all the way down to the northern edge of Yorkville. You know, that's not far from NIU...
Remember, there's $209 million from Denny Hastert just sitting out there to study a highway that we don't need...