CHICAGO – Illinois’ portion of historic Route 66 is getting a high-tech upgrade with the installation of a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
The project will allow drivers of electric cars to zoom along the 300-mile stretch from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
The $1 million project is being supported by automakers with technical help from the University of California at Davis. Work begins this month and should be finished by summer.
“This new project exemplifies Illinois’ place as the innovation capital of the Midwest,” said Gov. Pat Quinn in a news release announcing the project on Saturday.
Charging stations will be built in eight cities. From north to south, they are Plainfield, Dwight, Pontiac, Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville and Edwardsville.
Each stop will have at least one fast-charging station, which can charge up a car within 15 to 20 minutes.
Starting in the 1920s, the old U.S. Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, connected Chicago with Santa Monica, California. Though embedded in popular culture, the 2,400-mile road was eventually overtaken by the interstate highway system and was officially decertified in 1985, though most of the original route is still drivable.