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updated: 12/29/2017 5:23 PM

Tollway Authority responds to lawsuit that aims to stop $25 million Route 53 expansion study

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The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority responded to a lawsuit filed by a group of Lake County residents who oppose the Route 53 expansion project, refuting the assertion the Tollway Authority didn't follow state rules.

Livable Lake County's lawsuit cites 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 whether to continue it. Livable Lake County says the Tollway Authority didn't do that.

Tollway Authority officials said in an email Friday that they did follow the rules.

"The Illinois Tollway has followed all applicable state and federal regulations for initiating an environmental-impact statement regarding the Illinois Route 53/120 Project," the statement reads. "The Tollway is reviewing the lawsuit and at this point is withholding comment on the litigation."

In May, the Tollway Authority voted to pay $25 million to do an environmental impact study. The consultants will start from scratch, and in four to five years make recommendations for a road to be paid for with tolls.

In the lawsuit, Livable Lake County asks the judge to order the Tollway Authority to stop the study.