Building 10 miles of Expressway a Year in Cook County

The county program for 1956 called for the disbursement of over $77 million for expressway right-of-way purchases and construction.  In mid-1956 the county opened 6 miles of the Calumet Expressway south of what was soon to be the Tri-State Tollway.  At the dedication of that expressway, Dan Ryan explained that it would be the last of the expressways to be built from funds raised via the 1949 bond issue.  This suburban expressway was built as part of the program begun by Major Quinlan when the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the 1941 highway bond issue.  Ryan went on to say the county had in place a program to be funded with the $245 million bond issue enacted by the legislature the year before and that he eagerly anticipated the massive federal interstate funding soon to be available. 

In November 1956, in describing the effect the new federal interstate funding would have on his program, Superintendent Mortimer claimed that he would need about $15 million each year to match $150 million in anticipated federal funding.  He said the bond issue money could not be used to match federal dollars.  Instead the bond money would be used to build the Northwest Expressway from Cicero to O'Hare, the Stony Island Expressway from 107th Street to Dody (connecting the South Outer Drive with the Calumet Expressway), the Franklin Street extension from Archer to Wacker Dr. at Congress, and the Crosstown Expressway, none of which were then part of the Interstate system and none but the Northwest Expressway and the south end of the Stony Island Expressway was ever built.  Although the tollway was far from complete and neither the effect of the $245 million bond issue or the Interstate funding had not yet been felt, Bill Stratton was running for re-election that year, taking credit for building over 700 miles of new Illinois roadways.