Illinois Department of Transportation officials hope to complete a batch of land appraisals related to the Illiana Expressway project after the start of the new year, an agency spokesman said Friday.
IDOT hoped to start sooner – during the week of Christmas – but residents complained, said Anthony Rayson, a Monee Township resident and member of an anti-Illiana group called “No Illiana 4 Us.”
The complaints prompted IDOT to move the inspections back to no earlier than Jan. 5.
IDOT is moving forward with appraisals after the Illiana Expressway project received federal approval earlier this month.
Fewer than 20 homeowners received letters from an outside appraisal firm earlier this month requesting on-site inspections during the week of Christmas, said Guy Tridgell, with IDOT.
“We have asked that those requests for onsite inspections be rescheduled for a later date,” Tridgell said.
Onsite property inspections are not mandatory, but preferred by IDOT, he said, adding that property owners can decline the requests if they choose.
Once appraisals are complete, IDOT will make formal offers via certified mail. State officials have said IDOT will pay fair market value for property. Landowners who want to make a counteroffer can do so by getting their own appraisal done – but at their own expense.
Earlier this month, the Federal Highway Administration signed off on the $1.5 billion project, authorizing both Illinois and Indiana transportation departments to move forward with final design, land acquisition and construction.
The tollway project would link Interstate 55 near Wilmington to Interstate 65 in Indiana.