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updated: 12/29/2017 7:15 AM

Opponents of Route 53 extension sue Tollway Authority

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A group of Lake County residents who oppose the Route 53 expansion project has filed a lawsuit to try to stop the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority from going through with the extension.

Livable Lake County said in their suit, filed Thursday in the Lake County circuit court, that the Tollway Authority failed to comply with state rules. The complaint sites a portion of the Toll Highway Act that states that within 10 years of establishing a toll highway corridor, the Tollway Authority has to hold a public hearing to discuss the viability and feasibility of the protected corridor and then vote to continue the protected corridor or not. Livable Lake County asserts that the Tollway Authority didn't do that, and asks the judge to make the Tollway Authority stop construction. Livable Lake County also asks that the Tollway Authority pay the cost of the lawsuit and pay any other relief the court deems just.

The project would build a new road up to Route 120 in Lake County with tolls of about 20 cents a mile.

Formed in 2015, Livable Lake County has long said they think the extension will cause environmental damage and they object to high toll rates, a proposed gas tax and special taxing district needed, as the road cannot pay for itself. The project's supporters say the road will create jobs and spur economic development, as well as fix traffic jams in Lake County and northern Cook County, where Route 53 peters out.

In May, the Tollway Authority voted to pay $25 million to do an environmental impact study about the project.