Advocates Criticize Plan to Widen Tri-State Tollway

June 29, 2006

A group of open lands advocates is resisting a plan to widen the Tri-State tollway.

The Cook County Forest Preserve keeps a tight hold on its land. But now it's considering a plan to sell permanent easements along the Tri-State. The Illinois Tollway Authority wants rain buffers along the stretch between Lake Cook Road and Touhy Avenue.

The plan worries groups like Friends of the Cook County Forest Preserves. Ben Cox says the deal could set a bad precedent.

"It's not a land bank. Often, people look at these open spaces and see them like other open space in the county that's turned into a shopping mall or another subdivision. Or people they think, we need a school, or a retirement home or an elks club, here's where we should go," he says.

A spokesperson for the Cook County Forest Preserve District says the arrangement would be unusual, but not unprecedented.

District commissioners could decide the issue by summer's end.