U.S. Route 20 in Illinois

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U.S. Route 20

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Highway
US 20 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by IDOT and CDOT
Length233.93 mi[1] (376.47 km)
Major junctions
West end US 20 in East Dubuque
Major intersections
East end US 12 / US 20 / US 41 in Chicago
CountryUnited States
CountiesJo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Cook
Highway system
IL 19 IL 21

U.S. Route 20 (US 20) in the U.S. state of Illinois is a major arterial highway that runs from the Iowa state line at East Dubuque at the northwestern tip of Illinois, to the Indiana state line at Chicago south of the Chicago Skyway, a distance of 233.93 miles (376.47 km).[1] For its entire length, US 20 is designated as the General Ulysses S. Grant Highway, often abbreviated the U.S. Grant Memorial Highway. However, this name is only commonly used west of Elgin. US 20 bypasses the city of Elgin on a freeway known as the Elgin Bypass or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway.[2] From Elgin to Melrose Park, US 20 follows Lake Street. It then follows Mannheim Road, and further south La Grange Road. US 20 also follows 95th Street as it turns east through Chicago's southwestern suburbs. It ultimately leaves Illinois on Indianapolis Boulevard.

Route description

Northwest Illinois

The US 20/IL 84 bridge over the Galena River in Galena

As the highway enters Illinois across the Julien Dubuque Bridge, it continues southeasterly for a while, paralleling the Upper Mississippi River before turning east into the rugged country of the Driftless Area in Jo Daviess County, then turning flat and straight west of Stockton, Illinois and entering Stephenson County. The Ulysses S. Grant Home, a national landmark, fronts near the highway at the eastern edge of Galena, Illinois.

The road between Dubuque and Stockton was once known as the most dangerous stretch of road because of the hills and curves flanked by cliffs and valleys. Travelers were greeted with signs reminding them to drive carefully as they entered this stretch of road.

In Freeport, US 20 is routed onto a limited-access freeway bypass. Between Freeport and Rockford there are two traffic light-controlled intersections. The Rockford bypass routes US 20 onto a full limited-access freeway; it remains this way until it overlaps I-39 southeast of downtown Rockford.

Rockford to Elgin

East of Rockford, the routing of US 20 runs parallel with I-90; US 20 serves minor cities that are not accessible from the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. It is a four-lane divided highway from I-39 to just east of Belvidere; for the rest of this segment, it is a winding, rural two-lane road.

US 20 travels through the downtowns of the small towns and unincorporated areas of Garden Prairie, Harmony and Starks, as well as the city of Marengo. At Starks, eastbound US 20 overlaps southbound Illinois Route 47 and westbound Illinois Route 72, forming a wrong-way concurrency. All three routes pass beneath a railroad viaduct before separating south of Starks.

Continuing east, US 20 travels through Pingree Grove before entering the Elgin area. Before entering Elgin, US 20 widens to a four lane limited-access freeway that bypasses Elgin, around the town's south end. This road is known as the Elgin Bypass.

Elgin to Indiana

Markers for the original Ulysses S. Grant Highway on Old Lake Street in Bartlett

At the end of the Elgin bypass, US 20 takes on the name of Lake Street. US 20 has numerous high-volume intersections, including a grade-separated interchange with Illinois Route 59. In Hanover Park, an early-2000s reconstruction project widened lanes on the road and created a median for safer travel; east of Barrington Road / County Farm Road, the road briefly becomes six lanes for one mile (1.6 km) until the Elgin–O'Hare Expressway.

US 20 continues in an east-southeast direction through the town center of Bloomingdale and becomes six lanes at the Bloomingdale-Roselle border. It maintains six lanes through a very high traffic corridor to Interstate 290 and onwards to Illinois Route 53 before it returns to four lanes while serving downtown Addison, paralleling Interstate 290 to the north. Past Elmhurst, the road overlaps Interstate 290 for a mile.

US 20 continues through Stone Park and Melrose Park before turning south and joining U.S. Routes 12/45 on Mannheim Road. In La Grange, the combined U.S. 12, 20, and 45 traveling on La Grange Road intersect with Ogden Avenue, which carries U.S. 34, one of the few places where four US numbered highways intersect. La Grange Road continues south until U.S. 20 turns onto 95th Street eastbound with U.S. 12. This combination later joins with U.S. Route 41, where the three routes follow Ewing Avenue and Indianapolis Boulevard, which are the last portions of US 20 prior to its crossing the state line into Indiana.


The routing of US 20 has not changed since 1938. Prior to 1938, US 20 continued east on Lake Street east of Mannheim Road (US 12/US 45). It ran through downtown Chicago and exited Chicago south on what is now Torrence Avenue.[3] In 1955, the Illinois General Assembly designated the entire length of US 20 in Illinois the "U.S. Grant Memorial Highway". New signs were produced in late 2007 to reflect this designation along its entire length.[4]

Elgin Bypass

Construction of the Golf Road (Illinois Route 58) extension to Summit Street in Elgin was completed in 1932. In 1958, Interstate 90 (I-90) was built through the north side of Elgin extending east to Devon Avenue, and on to Chicago by 1960. In 1935, concerned about increasing numbers of traffic, residents of Elgin laid plans to build a bypass. US 20 had been routed down Villa Street, Highland Avenue, and Larkin Avenue through downtown Elgin. 27 years later, a section of freeway opened south of Elgin as the Elgin Bypass.[5]

The segment of the Elgin Bypass between McLean Boulevard and Grace Street (Illinois Route 25), including the Fox River bridge, was opened first. Later, the outer segments of the bypass – to Randall Road on the west, and Bluff City Boulevard on the east – were opened. On November 30, 1962, Governor Otto Kerner Jr. dedicated the Elgin Bypass.[6]

From 1962 until 1984, the old route was designated as US 20 Business.[3]

In 2012-2016, the interchange between the Elgin Bypass and McLean Blvd was upgraded to a SPUI, the bridge was widened and replaced and portions of the Bypass were repaved at a cost of $44.4 million.[7][8]

In 2019, the interchange between the Elgin Bypass and Randall Road received a $9 million upgrade so that northbound Randall Road traffic can enter the eastbound Elgin Bypass without making a left turn at a traffic light.[9]

Starting in 2014, a comprehensive study of the Elgin Bypass corridor resulted in a number of recommendations including a wider bridge across the Fox River, a replacement bridge for IL-31 crossing the bypass and replacement of other bridges. The 2019 estimates of the recommended improvements total $84 million, with $10.6 million designated for the IL-31 bridge.[10]


Long range plans call for US 20 to be upgraded to a four lane highway from Rockford to East Dubuque. The project dates back to the 1970s, when a major supplemental freeway system was proposed in Illinois.[11] US 20 has been completed as a four lane freeway/expressway combination between Rockford and Freeport as well as Galena and East Dubuque. The remaining gap between Freeport and Galena is planned to be filled, but efforts have stalled in recent years, mainly due to funding issues.[12]

Major intersections

All exits are unnumbered.

Mississippi River0.00.0

US 20 west / Great River Road (National Route) north – Dubuque
Continuation into Iowa
Iowa–Illinois state line (Julien Dubuque Bridge)
Jo DaviessEast Dubuque0.71.1
IL 35 north – Wisconsin
Interchange; southern terminus of IL 35; no eastbound entrance
Rawlins Township11.218.0
IL 84 north – Hazel Green
Western end of IL 84 overlap
Elizabeth Township26.442.5

IL 84 south / Great River Road (National Route) south (Washington Street) – Hanover, Savanna
Eastern end of IL 84/Great River Road overlap
IL 78 south (Main Street) – Mount Carroll
Western end of IL 78 overlap
StocktonWards Grove
township line
IL 78 north – Warren
Eastern end of IL 78 overlap
StephensonLena50.881.8 IL 73 – Lena, Pearl City

US 20 Bus. east – Freeport
Western terminus of US 20 Bus.; western end of expressway
61.899.5 IL 26 – Freeport, Monroe
65.0104.6 IL 75 – Freeport, Rockton
68.8110.7Springfield Road – FreeportEastbound exit and westbound entrance

US 20 Bus. west – Freeport
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; eastern terminus of US 20 Bus.; eastern end of expressway

US 20 Bus. east (State Street)
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; western terminus of US 20 Bus.; western end of freeway section
87.7141.1 CR 24 (Meridian Road)
90.1145.0 CR 27 (Montague Road)
92.7149.2 IL 2 (Main Street) – Dixon
94.6152.2 IL 251 (11th Street) – Rochelle
96.8155.8Alpine Road

I-39 south / US 51 south – Bloomington, Normal
Western end of I-39/US 51 overlap

I-39 Toll north / US 51 north to I-90 Toll (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) / Harrison Avenue – Chicago, Wisconsin, Rockford
Cloverleaf interchange; eastern end of freeway section; eastern end of I-39/US 51 overlap; I-39 exit 122A
BooneBelvidere106.1170.8Appleton RoadInterchange

US 20 Bus. west (Belvidere Road) to I-90 Toll (Genoa Road)
Eastern terminus of US 20 Bus.
IL 23 (State Street) to IL 176 (Telegraph Street)
I-90 Toll (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) – Chicago, Rockford
I-90 exit 42
Pingree Grove133.6215.0

IL 47 north / IL 72 east – West Dundee, Huntley
Western end of IL 47/IL 72 overlap

IL 47 south / IL 72 west – Elburn, Hampshire
Eastern end of IL 47/IL 72 overlap
Elgin141.5227.7 CR 34 (Randall Road)Western end of Elgin Bypass freeway
141.6227.9Larkin AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance
143.0230.1McLean Boulevard
144.4232.4 IL 31 (State Street)
145.1233.5 IL 25Split into separate north and south exits westbound
Cook146.4235.6Villa StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; eastern end of Elgin Bypass
Bartlett148.6239.1 IL 59 (Sutton Road) – Barrington, West ChicagoInterchange
county line
Hanover Park151.9244.5
CR 43 south (County Farm Road), Barrington Road
Northern terminus of CR 43; County Farm Road continues north as Barrington Road

IL 390 Toll east (Elgin–O'Hare Tollway)
I-Pass only; interchange; western terminus of IL 390
CR 29 west (Greenbrook Boulevard)
Eastern terminus of CR 29
Roselle153.9247.7 CR 23 (Gary Avenue)
Bloomingdale156.2251.4 CR 4 (Bloomingdale Road)
Addison157.8254.0 CR 24 (Medinah Road)
I-355 to I-290 – Joliet, Chicago, Rockford
I-355 exit 31
158.8255.6 IL 53 (Rohlwing Road)
CR 22 north (Addison Road)
Southern terminus of CR 22
162.0260.7 CR 28 (Villa Avenue, Wood Dale Road)
AddisonElmhurst line162.6261.7

IL 64 Truck west / IL 83 (Kingery Highway) to I-290

CR 20 east (Grand Avenue)
Interchange; western end of IL 64 Truck overlap
Elmhurst163.8263.6York Road, North York StreetInterchange

I-290 west – Rockford
Western end of I-290 overlap; I-290 exit 12

I-290 east to I-294 Toll south (Tri-State Tollway) – Chicago, Indiana
Eastern end of I-290 overlap; I-290 exit 13A; I-294 north exit 31

IL 64 east (North Avenue) / IL 64 Truck end
Interchange; eastern end of IL 64 Truck overlap; eastbound left exit and westbound left entrance

I-294 Toll north (Tri-State Tollway) – Milwaukee, O'Hare
I-294 exit 33

US 12 west / US 45 north (Mannheim Road north)
Western end of US 12/US 45 overlap
BellwoodHillside line168.4271.0
IL 56 west (Washington Boulevard)
Eastern terminus of IL 56
HillsideWestchester line169.2272.3
I-290 / IL 110 (CKC) (Eisenhower Expressway)
I-290 exit 17
IL 38 west (Roosevelt Road)
Eastern terminus of IL 38
La Grange172.9278.3 US 34 (Ogden Avenue)
CountrysideHodgkins line174.1280.2 Historic US 66 (Joliet Road)

I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) to I-294 Toll north – Chicago, St. Louis
I-55 exit 279
Willow Springs178.1286.6

IL 171 (Archer Avenue) to 79th Street / I-294 Toll south (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana
Cloverleaf interchange; left exit eastbound
Hickory Hills180.2290.0
US 45 south (La Grange Road south)
Eastern end of US 45 overlap
I-294 Toll (Tri-State Tollway) – Wisconsin, Indiana
Tolled; I-294 exit 17
182.9294.3 IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)Cloverleaf interchange
Oak Lawn185.9299.2 IL 50 (Cicero Avenue)

Halsted Street to I-57 / I-94 east / IL 1
I-94 west (Dan Ryan Expressway)
I-94 exit 62
Stony Island Avenue to I-94
Northern terminus of Stony Island Avenue expressway (southbound); at-grade street northbound
US 41 north / LMCT (Ewing Avenue north)
Western end of US 41 overlap

I-90 Toll west / Chicago Skyway west
Signed as "To I-90 west"; access to I-90 east is in Indiana; I-90 exit 107

US 12 east / US 20 east / US 41 south / LMCT (Indianapolis Boulevard) – Hammond
Continuation into Indiana
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business routes

US 20 has been rerouted around the cities of Freeport, Rockford, Elgin and Chicago. A bypass is currently planned for Galena.

The longest Business US 20 in Illinois runs 21 miles (34 km) from just west of Rockford to just east of Belvidere. The route begins just west of Weldon Road and runs as State Street into downtown Rockford, where it is split into two one-way streets (Chestnut Street and Walnut Street for eastbound traffic, Jefferson Street for westbound traffic). The route continues east along State Street all the way through Rockford and becomes a two-lane highway between Rockford and Belvidere. Business US 20 is then routed in an outer loop around the city of Belvidere before merging back with US 20 near Genoa Road and I-90.

Business US 20 in Elgin was removed in 1984. This ran along Larkin Avenue, Highland Avenue, Chicago Street and Villa Avenue. The current routing of US 20 south of Elgin is called the Elgin Bypass.

Business US 20 in Chicago was removed in 1968. This existed from 1960 through 1968; before then, it was City US 20 from 1938 to 1960.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  2. ^ "Bill Status of HR1214 95th General Assembly". Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Carlson, Rich (March 15, 2006). "Illinois State Highways Page: Routes 1 thru 20". Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
  4. ^ "IDOT Announces New Signs to Commemorate Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Highway" (Press release). Illinois Department of Transportation. August 31, 2007. Archived from the original on September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Gathman, David (September 9, 2007). "Inroads, dead ends for woes in Fox Valley Targeting rush hour". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2008.
  6. ^ "Elgin Bypass Dedicated by Gov. Kerner". Chicago Tribune. December 1, 1962. p. 10.
  7. ^ "Route 20 @ McLean Boulevard Interchange Reconstruction" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "US Route 20 at McLean Boulevard Interchange Reconstruction Project". Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Casas, Gloria (May 31, 2019). "Randall Road/Route 20 intersection work starts Monday, won't end till later this year". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 24, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "Presentation". June 5, 2019. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Dees, Dan (November 1, 1974). "Illinois Supplemental Freeway System Proposal" (PDF). Illinois Department of Transportation. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015 – via Midwest Roads.
  12. ^ Galena Gazette Staff (December 3, 2013). "Bustos Talks US 20 with Local Leaders". Galena Gazette. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015 – via Office of Cheri Bustos.

External links

U.S. Route 20
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