U.S. Route 51 in Illinois
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U.S. Route 51 in Illinois

U.S. Route 51 marker

U.S. Route 51
US 51 highlighted in red, IL 251 in blue
Route information
Maintained by IDOT and ISTHA
Length415.95 mi[1] (669.41 km)
Length may include both directions of route where it is routed along one-way streets.
Major junctions
South end / / near Wickliffe, KY
  near Cairo

near Richview
at Vandalia
at Decatur
/ at Bloomington
/ at Normal
at La Salle

at Rochelle

at Cherry Valley

/ at South Beloit
North end at the Wisconsin state line in South Beloit
CountiesAlexander, Pulaski, Union, Jackson, Perry, Washington, Jefferson, Marion, Fayette, Shelby, Christian, Macon, DeWitt, McLean, Woodford, Marshall, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Winnebago
Highway system

U.S. Route 51 (US 51) in the U.S. state of Illinois, is a main north-south artery that runs from the Ohio River north to the Wisconsin border, a distance of 415.95 miles (669.41 km).[1]

Route description

US 51 enters Illinois from Kentucky at the city town of Cairo, Illinois. The highway heads northbound to a village near Cairo called Mounds, and begins to overlap Interstate 57 (I-57), following it for 24 miles (39 km) to Dongola, before splitting and heading north. The highway remains two lanes wide from Dongola to Assumption with the exception of a 10-mile (16 km) section between Centralia and I-64.

Past Assumption, US 51 becomes an expressway to Decatur. In Decatur, US 51 follows I-72 to bypass the city. US 51 leaves I-72 after eight miles (13 km), and it heads north to Bloomington-Normal as an expressway. At Bloomington-Normal, US 51 follows I-74 for a mile, then I-55 for seven miles (11 km), before following I-39 for 140 miles (230 km).

US 51 follows I-39, intersecting I-80 and I-88 along the way. The highway also follows US 20 south of Rockford (while still following I-39). I-39/US-51 join I-90, making US 51 one of the few toll highways in Illinois that is a U.S. Highway. US 51 exits I-39/I-90 just a mile south of the Wisconsin state line. Then US 51 follows Illinois Route 75 (IL 75) west to the intersection of IL 251, and then turns north through South Beloit, Illinois to enter Wisconsin.


US 51 was established in Illinois in the 1920s. Over the years, it became a heavily traveled highway, often experiencing many accidents, particularly in the northern half of the state. This highway gained the moniker of "Killer 51". As a result of these problems, Illinois pushed for a new four lane highway along the corridor. One was proposed in the 1960s and 1970s as part of a proposed supplemental freeway system, but only the area between Rockford and Decatur was given a high priority.[2]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, US 51 was rebuilt to Interstate standards between Rockford and Bloomington-Normal on a new alignment. This new highway became Interstate 39, and US 51 was rerouted onto it. In addition, north of Rockford, US 51 was rerouted onto the existing I-90 segment between South Beloit and Cherry Valley. Most of the old highway became IL 251.

South of Bloomington-Normal to Decatur, US 51 remained largely on the original alignment, and it was expanded to an expressway. In the 2000s, the expressway was continued southward from Decatur to Assumption, Illinois.

Major intersections

AlexanderCairo0.00.0 south / east / east - WickliffeUS 51/US 60/US 62 continue into Kentucky
0.20.32 west / west to south - CharlestonNorthern end of US 60/US 62 concurrency
4.57.2 north / begins - Mound CitySouthern terminus of IL 37; southern terminus of IL 3; southern end of IL 3 concurrency
5.38.51 north - Olive Branch
south - Sikeston, MO
Northern end of IL 3 concurrency; southern end of I-57 concurrency
Pulaski11.418.38Mounds Road
21.434.418Ullin Road
UnionDongola28.245.424Dongola Road
28.846.325 north - ChicagoNorthern end of I-57 concurrency; northbound exit and southbound entrance
Anna36.057.9 - Jonesboro, Vienna
JacksonCarbondale55.088.5 - Murphysboro, Marion
De Soto61.398.7 - Murphysboro, Hurst
PerryDu Quoin72.4116.5 east - ChristopherWestern terminus of IL 14
75.5121.5 west - PyattsEastern terminus of IL 152
Sunfield80.4129.4 - Red Bud, Sesser
WashingtonAshley98.0157.7 west - East St. LouisWestern end of IL 15 concurrency
100.9162.4 east - Mount VernonEastern end of IL 15 concurrency
Richview105.7170.1 - Mount Vernon, East St. LouisI-64 exit 61
Irvington109.6176.4 west - BellevilleWestern terminus of IL 177
No major junctions
MarionCentralia116.2187.0 - New Baden, Kell
Sandoval122.7197.5 west - CarlyleWestern end of US 50 concurrency
123.0197.9 east - SalemEastern end of US 50 concurrency
FayetteVandalia146.9236.4 east / east - Bluff CityEastern end of US 40/IL 185 concurrency
148.5239.0 west / west - Taylor Springs, Mulberry GroveWestern end of US 40/IL 185 concurrency
148.7239.3 - Effingham, St. LouisExit 63 on I-70
No major junctions
ChristianPana178.1286.6 west - HillsboroWestern end of IL 16 concurrency
178.6287.4 north - TaylorvilleSouthern terminus of IL 29
180.2290.0 east - ShelbyvilleEastern end of IL 16 concurrency
No major junctions
Macon207.3333.6Elwin, Mt ZionNorthbound exit, southbound entrance
210340Decatur, Elwin, Mt ZionInterchange
211.2339.9 - Taylorville, Decatur
Harristown214.7345.5133 west /  - Springfield, DecaturSouthern end of I-72 concurrency; signed as exits 133A (east) and 133B (south)
Decatur219.2352.8138 - Decatur, Lincoln
222.2357.6141 east - Champaign, Urbana, DecaturNorthern end of I-72 concurrency
north - Clinton
239.5385.4 - Springfield, Clinton
240.0386.2 - Lincoln, Clinton
south - Clinton
McLeanHeyworth251.9405.4 - McLean, Rantoul
(Main Street) - Bloomington
east - Champaign
Southern end of I-74 concurrency
262.2422.0157A south - St. Louis, SpringfieldSouthern end of I-55 concurrency
Bloomington262.4422.3157B north (Veterans Parkway)Signed as exit 134B (north) southbound
265.5427.3160 / (Market Street) - Pekin
269.1433.1163 west - PeoriaNorthern end of I-74 concurrency
270.3435.0-- north - Chicago
Northern end of I-55 concurrency; southern end of I-39 concurrency; southern terminus of I-39; I-55 exit 154
south - Bloomington, Normal
Hudson275.2442.95 (Franklin Street) - Hudson
278.3447.98 north / (Lake Bloomington Road) - KappaSouthern terminus of IL 251
WoodfordEl Paso284.9458.514 - El Paso, Peoria
Woodford292.9471.422 - Peoria, Pontiac
MarshallWenona305.6491.835 - Lacon, Wenona
LaSalleLostant312.2502.441 - Henry, Streator
322.3518.751 - Hennepin, Oglesby
323.0519.852 - Peru, LaSalle
Illinois River326.5525.5Abraham Lincoln Memorial Bridge
La Salle327.3526.757 - LaSalle, Peru, Ottawa
329.6530.459 - LaSalle, Peru, Chicago, Des MoinesSigned as exits 59A (east) and 59B (west); I-80 exit 79
Troy Grove336.8542.066 - Troy Grove
Mendota342.7551.572 - Mendota, Earlville
LeePaw Paw353.1568.382Paw Paw
357.9576.087 - Sterling, Rock Falls, Aurora
/ (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) - Moline, Rock Island, Chicago
Signed as exits 97A (east) and 97B (west); I-88 exit 78
370.1595.699 /  - DeKalb, Rochelle
375.1603.7104 - Sycamore, Oregon
Monroe Center381.6614.1111 - Genoa, Byron
Winnebago386.1621.4115Baxter Road
Rockford390.2628.0 west - Freeport, RockfordSouthern end of US 20 concurrency
Cherry Valley392.7632.0122A east - BelvidereNorthern end of US 20 concurrency
392.7632.0122BHarrison Avenue
east (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) - Chicago
Southern end of I-90 concurrency; I-39/US 51 uses I-90's exit numbers from here north; exit 17 on I-90
(State Street)
Last free exit northbound
398.4641.212Riverside BoulevardToll on northbound exit and southbound entrance
Machesney Park401.9646.89 (West Lane Road)Toll on northbound exit and southbound entrance
Rockton407.3655.5South Beloit Toll Plaza
South Beloit408.1656.83 (Rockton Road)Last free exit southbound
414.0666.31 north / west - Madison
Northern end of I-39/I-90 concurrency; southern end of IL 75 concurrency
415.6668.8 west / south - Freeport, RockfordNorthern end of IL 75 concurrency; northern terminus of IL 251
415.95669.41 north - BeloitContinuation into Wisconsin
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 2007.
  2. ^ "Illinois Supplemental Freeway system proposal" (PDF). Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ Google (March 19, 2017). "Overview Map of US 51" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2017.

External links

Route map:

KML is not from Wikidata

U.S. Route 51
Previous state:
Illinois Next state:

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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