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Author Topic: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?  (Read 7753 times)

I-39

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In 1993, ISTHA was authorized by the legislature to extend I-355 south to I-80 and further to I-57. As we know, the former opened in 2007, while the latter never got past being a concept.

The excuse was that a further extension to I-57 wasn't needed unless the Peotone airport was built, but in reality, it was needed regardless due to the Illiana Expressway. It could have connected with the Illiana and provided a more direct link back to I-80. Yet, they allowed a bunch of development south of I-80 to prevent a further extension. Why?
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Brandon

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2021, 12:40:21 PM »

There’s a residential subdivision in the way at the south end that shouldn’t have been allowed to be built.
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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2021, 01:00:08 PM »

I think that's why the Illianas connection to 80 was 55 or a connection to the prairie parkway. Illinois along with the crosstown still exist as unconstrained months 2050. But 53 is there too. Illiana is out of the Indiana plan though.

Btw Kane county 2050 is out. Most of the state highways wish list is route 47.
6 lane of tollway to Illinois 47.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 01:01:39 PM »

There was once a corridor that connected to I-80 somewhere west of the US 30 interchange that was included in New Lenox's land use plan. The corridor disappeared somewhere in the early 2010s.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2021, 02:05:55 PM »

I think Interstate 355 was lucky to get its extension to Interstate 80. I'm not sure any further extension of 355 would have been successfully constructed.
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I-39

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2021, 09:36:00 PM »

There was once a corridor that connected to I-80 somewhere west of the US 30 interchange that was included in New Lenox's land use plan. The corridor disappeared somewhere in the early 2010s.

Really is a shame this wasn’t built.
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SkyPesos

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 09:51:43 PM »

Maybe not to I-57, but would be nice if there were space reserved for a southern extension to a completed Illiana Expy. From the Illiana, it can provide access to I-57, and hopefully I-65 too.
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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 07:00:38 AM »

There’s a residential subdivision in the way at the south end that shouldn’t have been allowed to be built.

That residential area dates back to at least the early 1990s if not earlier.  I had a friend who lived in that subdivision.
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edwaleni

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 04:24:18 PM »

I remember when ISTHA designed the I-355 Extension to I-80.

It had very few exits and a beautifully designed bridge over the Des Plaines River.

After all that is what the locals wanted, no traffic from the tollway in their neighborhoods so ISTHA complied.

Then the politicians got involved. Ramps were suddenly put back in and the county had to help pay for them.

ISTHA took away that suspension bridge and had it rebid as a design build. Now you have the ugliest pre-stressed concrete bridge with absolutely no aesthetic value whatsoever.

Basically a low bid design that is 100% functional, but is 100% forgettable.

As for going farther, that proposal was to please some Will County politicos but it never went anywhere.

If anything gets built in Illinois uncertain & broke future, it would be a connector from I-80 in Morris and cross I-55 and I-57 and end somewhere near the future airport. And it will be a toll road.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2021, 04:54:22 PM »

If anything gets built in Illinois uncertain & broke future, it would be a connector from I-80 in Morris and cross I-55 and I-57 and end somewhere near the future airport. And it will be a toll road.
The Houbolt Road toll bridge over the Des Plaines River is under construction. I-80 widening through Joliet is under design, with some pieces under construction. And a new interchange at I-57 near the South Suburban Airport appears lined up for a federal earmark in the upcoming infrastructure bill. Those are the tangible new/expansion projects I see in the area.
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edwaleni

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2021, 10:13:54 PM »

If anything gets built in Illinois uncertain & broke future, it would be a connector from I-80 in Morris and cross I-55 and I-57 and end somewhere near the future airport. And it will be a toll road.
The Houbolt Road toll bridge over the Des Plaines River is under construction. I-80 widening through Joliet is under design, with some pieces under construction. And a new interchange at I-57 near the South Suburban Airport appears lined up for a federal earmark in the upcoming infrastructure bill. Those are the tangible new/expansion projects I see in the area.

Yes, the Houbolt Road/Hollywood Road bridge will help with trucks reaching the Elwood Industrial Park without having to use IL-53 and the congestion it causes with the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.  Hopefully it will also improve truck access for both UP Global IV and BNSF Logistics Park. Elwood Industrial Road already has a multilane bridge over the tracks between UP Gloval IV and BNSF Chillicothe Sub.

This bridge and upgraded exit, when complete, will most definitely take the pressure off of the I-80/IL-53 exit. There are only 3 non-interstate bridges from Wilmington (on the Kankakee River) all the way to Joliet (on the Des Plaines). IL-53 & Will Road in Wilmington and Brandon Road in Joliet.

But long term they need a full interstate type ROW from Ridgecrest, across the Illinois, through the old Dresden coal plant property and just south of the BNSF facility through the former Arsenal to I-57 @ Peotone.
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Crash_It

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2021, 01:17:35 AM »

I remember when ISTHA designed the I-355 Extension to I-80.

It had very few exits and a beautifully designed bridge over the Des Plaines River.

After all that is what the locals wanted, no traffic from the tollway in their neighborhoods so ISTHA complied.

Then the politicians got involved. Ramps were suddenly put back in and the county had to help pay for them.

ISTHA took away that suspension bridge and had it rebid as a design build. Now you have the ugliest pre-stressed concrete bridge with absolutely no aesthetic value whatsoever.

Basically a low bid design that is 100% functional, but is 100% forgettable.

As for going farther, that proposal was to please some Will County politicos but it never went anywhere.

If anything gets built in Illinois uncertain & broke future, it would be a connector from I-80 in Morris and cross I-55 and I-57 and end somewhere near the future airport. And it will be a toll road.


It's not forgettable. It's one of the highest bridges over a body of water ever built. Not to mention that some of the off ramp bridges in that area are some of the funnest ever. That's some amazing engineering if you ask me. Pretty hilly around there too.
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Henry

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2021, 10:22:20 AM »

They should be satisfied that I-355 was built to I-80 in the first place, Illiana or not.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2021, 03:01:06 PM »

They should be satisfied that I-355 was built to I-80 in the first place, Illiana or not.
It was a fascinating project. I got a tour of it a week or 2 before it opened from one of the engineering companies on the project. Along with the I-57 new connections to I-294, this project helped to open up an economically depressed area of the south suburbs to the more lucrative job markets in Will, DuPage, Kane and NW Cook counties.
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edwaleni

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2021, 08:19:13 PM »

They should be satisfied that I-355 was built to I-80 in the first place, Illiana or not.
It was a fascinating project. I got a tour of it a week or 2 before it opened from one of the engineering companies on the project. Along with the I-57 new connections to I-294, this project helped to open up an economically depressed area of the south suburbs to the more lucrative job markets in Will, DuPage, Kane and NW Cook counties.

I haven't seen any post build economic studies on the route, but the logistics/warehouse boom they expected along the route didn't really materialize. I can probably count them on both hands. Most of it was built in Bolingbrook along I-55 instead.

While not scientific by any means people I know in New Lenox, Mokena, Manhattan get more benefit from the Metra route than they did commuting on I-355.

But it did remove a boat load of north south traffic on US-45.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2021, 01:13:00 PM »

I haven't seen any post build economic studies on the route, but the logistics/warehouse boom they expected along the route didn't really materialize. I can probably count them on both hands. Most of it was built in Bolingbrook along I-55 instead.

While not scientific by any means people I know in New Lenox, Mokena, Manhattan get more benefit from the Metra route than they did commuting on I-355.

But it did remove a boat load of north south traffic on US-45.

The Metra Southwest Service extension provided a benefit to far flung commuters, but boarded an average of 19 passengers a day at Manhattan and 19 a day at Laraway, pre-pandemic in 2018. The Rock Island line that's been there forever carries far more passengers into the loop from Mokena, New Lenox and Tinley, if downtown is where you are going, and that's the one I usually catch if I'm going that way. I agree development has been slow to the south I-355 corridor, but 2 of my grandkids were born at the new hospital at the south end, and they're still growing! My comment was more directed at the south Cook suburbs east of Frankfort where I grew up, and where other than the Loop, jobs were harder to access in say Oak Brook or Elk Grove or Bolingbrook before I-355 went in. It was either a lot of backtracking on I-80 west to I-55 north, making your way to the more crowded I-294, or grinding it out on arterials like US 45.
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kphoger

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2021, 01:50:06 PM »


There’s a residential subdivision in the way at the south end that shouldn’t have been allowed to be built.

That residential area dates back to at least the early 1990s if not earlier.  I had a friend who lived in that subdivision.

The southern end of current I-355?  Which subdivision?

I have no memory of the area where Walker Country Estates subdivision is from when I grew up in New Lenox in the 1980s, but this site suggests it was built in the early 2000s.

Historic Aerials shows that area still undeveloped on their 1993 map, with roads but no houses yet on their 1998 map.
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edwaleni

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2021, 11:45:37 PM »

I haven't seen any post build economic studies on the route, but the logistics/warehouse boom they expected along the route didn't really materialize. I can probably count them on both hands. Most of it was built in Bolingbrook along I-55 instead.

While not scientific by any means people I know in New Lenox, Mokena, Manhattan get more benefit from the Metra route than they did commuting on I-355.

But it did remove a boat load of north south traffic on US-45.

The Metra Southwest Service extension provided a benefit to far flung commuters, but boarded an average of 19 passengers a day at Manhattan and 19 a day at Laraway, pre-pandemic in 2018. The Rock Island line that's been there forever carries far more passengers into the loop from Mokena, New Lenox and Tinley, if downtown is where you are going, and that's the one I usually catch if I'm going that way. I agree development has been slow to the south I-355 corridor, but 2 of my grandkids were born at the new hospital at the south end, and they're still growing! My comment was more directed at the south Cook suburbs east of Frankfort where I grew up, and where other than the Loop, jobs were harder to access in say Oak Brook or Elk Grove or Bolingbrook before I-355 went in. It was either a lot of backtracking on I-80 west to I-55 north, making your way to the more crowded I-294, or grinding it out on arterials like US 45.

I remember reading something in either the Daily Southtown or Daily Herald about Orland Park officials saying that when I-355 opened to I-80, AADT and traffic flow improved mostly around 159th Street.
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hobsini2

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2021, 09:55:36 AM »


There’s a residential subdivision in the way at the south end that shouldn’t have been allowed to be built.

That residential area dates back to at least the early 1990s if not earlier.  I had a friend who lived in that subdivision.

The southern end of current I-355?  Which subdivision?

I have no memory of the area where Walker Country Estates subdivision is from when I grew up in New Lenox in the 1980s, but this site suggests it was built in the early 2000s.

Historic Aerials shows that area still undeveloped on their 1993 map, with roads but no houses yet on their 1998 map.
The subdivision off Francis and Spector was where my friend lived. The house was at the end of Carol Rd.  And looking closer at the map, I realize that was just west of the end of 355. For some reason I thought it was immediately south.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 09:58:01 AM by hobsini2 »
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kphoger

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2021, 11:05:04 AM »

The Metra Southwest Service extension provided a benefit to far flung commuters, but boarded an average of 19 passengers a day at Manhattan and 19 a day at Laraway, pre-pandemic in 2018. The Rock Island line that's been there forever carries far more passengers into the loop from Mokena, New Lenox and Tinley, if downtown is where you are going, and that's the one I usually catch if I'm going that way. I agree development has been slow to the south I-355 corridor, but 2 of my grandkids were born at the new hospital at the south end, and they're still growing! My comment was more directed at the south Cook suburbs east of Frankfort where I grew up, and where other than the Loop, jobs were harder to access in say Oak Brook or Elk Grove or Bolingbrook before I-355 went in. It was either a lot of backtracking on I-80 west to I-55 north, making your way to the more crowded I-294, or grinding it out on arterials like US 45.

From about age three through the end of third grade, I grew up at a dead end next to that railroad (here).  Back then, there were only about two trains per day on that line, and at least one of them was at night.  On the other side of the tracks was a forest and a man who bought farm animals to sell at auction.  I grew up playing on the railroad, exploring the forest, feeding the deer and trying to catch the guinea fowl, climbing down onto the ledge underneath the Old Plank Road Trail bridge, etc.

Because it was such a little-used railroad at the time, my friends and I played right on the tracks all the time.

One day, two friends and I decided to take a hike north up the line.  Eventually, we came to the trestle that goes over the Rock Island line.  It's one of those with naught but gaps between the ties.  Cool!  We decided to cross the trestle, a bit scared by vertigo, but careful to not fall through to the tracks below.  When we were halfway across, an approaching Metra train blew its whistle and scared the living daylights out of me.  I thought there was a train immediately behind us!  I literally jumped back from fright.  Fortunately, I landed on a tie—one or two behind the one I had alighted from.  That was one of the scariest childhood experiences I remember.

It's kind of hard for me to imagine Metra service operating on that line now because, when I was living there, there was still a gravel section of Laraway Road.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 04:38:25 PM by kphoger »
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3467

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2021, 04:34:29 PM »

I wonder why they didn't authorize it to Indiana. Perhaps Indiana ? Or local issues . Those were the swing house districts at the time and Madigan was focused on What they wanted.
I have a 97 map of the tollway that showed the end at 80 and the 53 extension but not the 420 extension. Was it because the tollway knew then that they were not viable.
Also there was no Elgin Ohare because IDOT  built part and the City had not decided on the west bypass.
The Foxway wasn't there. When the Repubicans took over the legislature in 94 Pate Phillip said he wanted a free Foxway though not long after that Edgar cancelled it because the ROW no longer existed. That later begat the attempt to make the Prairie Parkway it's replacement.

Those were some of the machinations I remember. Anyway it's interesting to see what got built and why .
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2021, 05:37:28 PM »

From about age three through the end of third grade, I grew up at a dead end next to that railroad (here).  Back then, there were only about two trains per day on that line, and at least one of them was at night.  On the other side of the tracks was a forest and a man who bought farm animals to sell at auction.  I grew up playing on the railroad, exploring the forest, feeding the deer and trying to catch the guinea fowl, climbing down onto the ledge underneath the Old Plank Road Trail bridge, etc.

Because it was such a little-used railroad at the time, my friends and I played right on the tracks all the time.

One day, two friends and I decided to take a hike north up the line.  Eventually, we came to the trestle that goes over the Rock Island line.  It's one of those with naught but gaps between the ties.  Cool!  We decided to cross the trestle, a bit scared by vertigo, but careful to not fall through to the tracks below.  When we were halfway across, an approaching Metra train blew its whistle and scared the living daylights out of me.  I thought there was a train immediately behind us!  I literally jumped back from fright.  Fortunately, I landed on a tie—one or two behind the one I had alighted from.  That was one of the scariest childhood experiences I remember.

It's kind of hard for me to imagine Metra service operating on that line now because, when I was living there, there was still a gravel section of Laraway Road.

One of my many current consultant projects is widening Laraway road to 4 lanes, a little bit west of where you were, from Cherry Hill Road to Nelson Road. The Metra service to Laraway and Manhattan, south of the previous Orland Park terminus, didn't start until January 30, 2006. That line once went straight through to Decatur and in the WW II era, there were about 4 passenger trains each way a day on it. The line got abandoned between Gibson City and Manhattan in 1991, thus the very infrequent freight train to Manhattan until Metra came in, and they still only run a few commuter trains all the way to Manhattan while others still terminate in Orland Park.

I had my moments as a kid doing things around the tracks, but never as scary as getting caught on a bridge with a train approaching. 2 youngsters got killed just a few years ago between Joliet and New Lenox at the Hickory Creek bridge on the Metra Rock Island line when they were caught on a bridge by a train. One was his mom's only child; it chokes me up every time I think of it, since I have passed over that bridge on a train countless times.
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/missing-teen-found-days-after-being-struck-by-metra-train-police-said/159033/
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 11:29:17 PM by Rick Powell »
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edwaleni

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2021, 10:36:35 AM »

That rail line to Manhattan is the former Wabash. It was taken over by what is now Norfolk Southern and now Metra.  There were already several lines out of Chicago, many barely making it, some to St Louis and some to KC and so the line was really redundant and abandoned. It later became a route to get corn syrup from Decatur to the candy factories in Chicago.

I used to work with a woman who was a conductor way back when the Wabash used to run commuter service on that line pre-RTA.

I was around when the Fox Valley Freeway was proposed to connect the Sears HQ complex to the southern suburbs. For the most part it was going to use an existing ROW occupied by Commonwealth Edison (now Exelon).

DuPage County leadership, proud of their effort to get I-355 through the bottlenecks, decided to shoot for gold again with the FWF and unfortunately, power shifted in the Illinois legislature and the game was up.

The alternate, the Prairie Parkway was devised by several Illinois Republicans along with the then Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.  Because he was Speaker, he had leverage to get funding in several annual bills for IDOT to begin land acquisition.

That was conceived to be the final north-south "reliever" route between I-355 and I-39.

Unfortunately some of that land was owned by entities where Hastert had an interest. He has since passed away.

Western Kane County rural interests were dead set against it along with the usual green interests.

It is no longer in any long term planning, but I don't think IDOT has sold back the land they acquired from those Congressional grants. IDOT is renown for sitting on their land once they get their hands on it.

Last time I read anything about it, it mentioned that IDOT owned about 20-30% of the needed ROW for the PP.

As for I-355, its days are done for going anywhere further south. There was no corridor protection done. It will go no farther.

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Konza

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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2021, 03:51:09 PM »

The original post gets to the gist of this.

No Peotone airport = no real need for a southward extension of I-355.
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Re: Why wasn't the I-355 extension to I-57 more seriously considered?
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2021, 04:32:51 PM »

The original post gets to the gist of this.

No Peotone airport = no real need for a southward extension of I-355.

Yes there is, because of the Illiana Expressway.
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