Route 66 in Illinois


Gardner to Bloomington/Normal:

This is just south of the southern terminus of IL 53 in Gardner.  The road is the original road, but now it is a frontage for I-55 pretty much all the way to Bloomington.  The road is rough, but cool nonetheless. Route 66 used to be four lanes here in Dwight, and other towns along the way.  But IDOT got tired of maintaining them, so they abandoned one set of lanes and 2-laned the highway.  There is an older alignment of 66 through Dwight, which I took.
US 66 crossed IL 47 here.  IL 47 splits to the left toward Champaign, while Old 66 continues into downtown Dwight. This is Route 66's older alignment, which goes through the heart of Dwight.  Not too much here, just a neighborhood and the local grocery store. 
IL 23 comes to an end outside of Pontiac as it joins Route 66 for its last few blocks.  IL 116 continues ahead, but leaves shortly after.  Pontiac is not much more than a good food/gas stop off I-55 nowadays. You get a good sense of what much of Illinois is like with this picture.  See all that flatness?  All farms all the time.  Route 66 sure traverses the best of it in Illinois!  At US 24 in Chenoa.
This is the big barn that I have seen from I-55 for 17 years and now, from Route 66.  It should be some historic landmark; it has been around so long it has turned into one for me.  See how close I-55 is (to the left)? In Lexington, there is this abandoned stretch of US 66.  You have to look for it to get there, but I found it on my own, so you should be able to, too.  It is not open to traffic, so be prepared for a nice walk in the country!
How would you like to have Old Route 66 in your backyard?  These people do, with their brand-spankin-new houses that just sprouted up in Bloomington.  The road dead-ends where you can't see it anymore in the distance. Nothing historical, just hysterical.  A real SWAT truck ahead of me!  In case you can't read it, it says "Sewage Waste Attack Truck."
US 66 hooked up with US 51 in Bloomington and Normal, and now US 51 has been rerouted to the interstate, Bus. 51 takes over.  Interesting how IDOT puts "Bus" inside the shield with no cardinal directions... US 150 and IL 9 hitch a ride with Bus. 51 for a block or two in Bloomington.   

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