Illinois Route 3

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Illinois Route 3

IL 3 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length187.44 mi[1] (301.66 km)
ExistedNovember 5, 1918[2]–present
Major junctions
South end US 51 / IL 37 in Cairo
Major intersections
North end IL 100 in Grafton
CountryUnited States
CountiesAlexander, Union, Jackson, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Madison, Jersey
Highway system
IL 2 IL 4

Illinois Route 3 (IL 3) is a 187.44-mile-long (301.66 km) major north–south arterial state highway in southwestern Illinois. It has its southern terminus at Cairo Junction (about four miles (6.4 km) north of Cairo) at the intersection of U.S. Route 51 (US 51) and Illinois Route 37, and its northern terminus in Grafton at IL 100.

Route description

The majority of IL 3 has four lanes from Waterloo to Godfrey, with brief six-lane stretches from the entrance to the McKinley Bridge in Venice to near the River's Edge area (formerly the Army Depot) in Granite City and near Alton Square Mall in Alton, as well as a brief two-laned section between its separation from I-55, I-64, and US 40 in East St. Louis and Venice. It is also two-laned the majority of the southern part from Waterloo to Cairo near areas of the Shawnee National Forest, as well as the northern portion from Godfrey to Grafton. It briefly overlaps IL 111 at Alton, I-255 and US 50, and IL 127 north of Cache.

IL 3 parallels the Mississippi River for the entire length of its journey, and it carries the Illinois portion of the Great River Road for most of its length. South of St. Louis, I-55 is its parallel on the west side of the river, along with US 61. The road runs along many historical sites along the Mississippi River, and is the closest Illinois state highway to the old state capital of Kaskaskia.


Original 1918 route

The original IL 3 route went from Chester in southern Illinois to Morrison in northwest Illinois via Rock Island. With the completion of highway bridges over the Mississippi River (e.g. Clark Bridge at Alton) U.S. Route 67 (US 67) was extended from St. Louis to Godfrey and replaced the original IL 3 to Rock Island. Today, this route is still the major north–south corridor for western Illinois—and the only major Illinois north–south route never converted to the Interstate Highway System like I-57, I-55, or I-39.

Current route

On August 4, 1976, the new Berm Highway from Wood River to Alton was opened.[3] It was signed as IL 3, which left the old alignment on Lewis and Clark Boulevard and Broadway unmarked. However, on June 29, 1987, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) built the new Madison Avenue extension in Wood River and marked that road and the Berm Highway as IL 143[4] and truncated IL 3 at IL 143 (highway signage and IDOT planning maps suggested otherwise, however). This new terminus for Route 3 was short-lived, however.

On November 26, 1987, a new section of Homer M. Adams Parkway in Alton opened to traffic, and IL 3 was extended onto Lewis and Clark Boulevard (a former IL 3 alignment) back into Alton and onto the extension. IL 3 was then cosigned with IL 111 until the intersection with Godfrey Road, where IL 3 takes over the former IL 100 alignment.[5]

Major intersections

AlexanderCairo0.81.3 Great River Road / Lincoln Heritage Trail south / US 51 / I-57 – Sikeston Mo., Mount VernonIDOT signs this as southern terminus; southern end of Great River Road/Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap; I-57 exit 1; highway continues as US 51/GRR/LHT south
Olive BranchHorseshoe Lake Conservation Area, Miller City
IL 127 north – Jonesboro, Mounds
IL 146 west – Cape Girardeau
Southern end of IL 146 overlap
IL 146 east / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) spur – Jonesboro, Lincoln-Douglas Debate Site
Northern end of IL 146 overlap
JacksonGrand Tower51.382.6

Great River Road Spur north (Grand Tower Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park, Business District

Great River Road Spur south (Power Plant Road) – River Access, Devils Backbone Park
Gorham Road - Gorham, Neunert, JacobState maintained
IL 149 east – Murphysboro, Carbondale, Lake Murphysboro State Park
IL 151 north – Lake Kinkaid, Ava, Johnson Creek Recreational Area

Great River Road (National Route) north (Truck Bypass) – River Bridge
Northern end of Great River Road overlap; state maintained
IL 150 west (State Street) – River Bridge, Penitentiary
Southern end of IL 150 overlap
IL 150 east (State Street) – Steeleville
Northern end of IL 150 overlap

Great River Road Spur begins / Jefferson Street
Southern end of Great River Road Spur overlap

Great River Road Spur ends / Great River Road south (Truck Bypass) – River Bridge, Penitentiary
Northern end of Great River Road Spur overlap; southern end of Great River Road overlap
Great River Road Spur (Shawneetown Trail) – Fort Kaskaskia Historic Site, Pierre Menard Home, Randolph County Conservation Area
State maintained to Fort Kaskaskia
Roots Road - River Ferry, Modoc, Kaskaskia Lock and Dam, Fort de Chartres Historic SiteState maintained

IL 155 west / Lincoln Heritage Trail (Southern Branch) north / Great River Road Spur – Prairie du Rocher, Fort de Chartres Historic Site, River Ferry
Northern end of Lincoln Heritage Trail overlap
Red Bud108.6174.8

IL 154 east (Market Street) / IL 159 north (Main Street) – Belleville, Sparta
MonroeKaskaskia Road - Burksville, Renault, Illinois Caverns State Natural Area
Waterloo122.2196.7 IL 156 (Park Street) – Fairgrounds, Wartburg, Maeystown, Valmeyer
IL 158 east – Belleville
133.1214.2Quarry Road / Palmer RoadSouth end of freeway

I-255 south / US 50 west (J.B. Bridge) – St. Louis County, Memphis, Tulsa
Southern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; I-255 exit 6
St. ClairDupo136.5219.79DupoExit number follows I-255

I-255 north / US 50 east – Chicago
North end of freeway; northern end of I-255/US 50 overlap; I-255 exit 10
IL 157 north (Camp Jackson Road) – Nicholas Jarrot Mansion, Holy Family Church
East St. Louis144.2–

I-55 south / I-64 west / US 40 west to I-70 west / I-44 – St. Louis
South end of freeway; I-55 north/I-64 east exit 1; former I-70 west
13th Street / Tudor AvenueNo southbound entrance
Barack Obama Avenue – East St. Louis, Business District, Casino QueenFormerly Fourth Street; northbound exit and southbound entrance

I-64 / US 40 west / I-55 south – St. Louis
South end of I-55/I-64/US 40 concurrency; southbound left exit and northbound left entrance; I-55 south/I-64 west exit 1; former I-70 west
145.7234.52AThird Street – Eads Bridge, Casino QueenExit numbers follow I-55/I-64; southbound exit and northbound entrance
146.0235.02B-CMartin Luther King BridgeDowntown St. LouisSigned as exits 2B (left exit) and 2C (right exit); no northbound exits

I-55 / Great River Road north / I-70 / US 40 east – Chicago, Indianapolis

I-64 east – Louisville
North end of freeway; northern end of I-55/I-64/US 40/Great River Road overlap; I-55 north exit 3, south exit 3A; I-64 exit 3; I-70 east exit 3
Fairmont City

Packers Avenue to I-55 north / I-64 east / I-70
Interchange via connector road; I-70 exit 2
MadisonVenice151.1243.2McKinley BridgeSt. LouisState maintained
Granite City158.4254.9
Historic US 66 east (Chain of Rocks Road)
Southern end of Historic US 66 overlap; state maintained

I-270 / Great River Road south / Historic US 66 west – St. Charles, Effingham
Southern end of Great River Road overlap; I-270 exit 3; northern end of Historic US 66 overlap
Meeting of the Great Rivers begins / Great River Road Spur (New Poag Road) – Lewis and Clark Historic Site, SIUE Campus
Southern end of Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap; New Poag Rd. south is former US 67 south
Hawthorne Street – HartfordState maintained
Wood River165.6266.5 Great River Road / Meeting of the Great Rivers north / IL 143 – Alton, Riverfront, Wood River, Business DistrictNorthern end of Great River Road/Meeting of the Great Rivers overlap
IL 111 south / IL 140 (College Avenue) – Bethalto
Interchange; southern end of IL 111 overlap

IL 111 north (Godfrey Road) to US 67 / State Street – Clark Bridge, Lewis and Clark Community College, Jacksonville
Northern end of IL 111 overlap
IL 109 north – Jerseyville
Grafton190.0305.8 IL 100 / Great River Road / Meeting of the Great RiversNorthern terminus; road continues south as Market Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  2. ^ Carlson, Rick (March 15, 2006). "Routes 1 through 20". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved March 24, 2006..
  3. ^ Alton Telegraph. August 4, 1976. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  4. ^ Alton Telegraph. June 30, 1987. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  5. ^ Alton Telegraph. November 26, 1987. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Google Maps estimate[full citation needed]

External links