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Three Illinois Highways - Route 68 traversing east-west, and Routes 83 and 21 north-south - have contributed to Wheeling's growth, originally establishing it as a crossroads community, and later, providing an accessibility that stimulated residential and commercial development. The Wisconsin Central Railroad, previously known as the Soo Line, bisects the Village north to south, serving numerous industrial parks along its right-of-way through spur lines.
Two major highway systems are just minutes away - US 12 and Illinois 53 lie to the west of the Village and Interstate 294 to the east. The interstate is accessed by an interchange either at Lake Cook or Palatine Roads. The access at Lake Cook Road also provides access to Interstate 94. From this point, O'Hare International Airport is just seven miles away, the Chicago Loop a 35-minute drive.
Public transportation within the Village and to nearby communities in northern Cook and southern Lake County is provided by Pace bus lines. Metra commuter rail service is currently available in neighboring Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Deerfield and Northbrook.
Wheeling is advantageously positioned for a new Metra Station under construction near Town Street and Wheeling Road. It is scheduled to begin service in late 1996. The new rail service will provide the traditional commuter route to Chicago as well as a transit alternative for the "reverse commute" of those persons living in Chicago and working in municipalities, such as Wheeling, which have substantial employment bases. A rail connection to O'Hare Field is also part of the planning for this project. Projected ridership use from the Wheeling station is expected to exceed ridership of all other individual stations on the line which links Antioch in northwestern Lake County to Chicago's Union Station. Estimated travel time between Wheeling and Chicago by rail is only 25 minutes.
Wheeling owns, in conjunction with the City of Prospect Heights, the third busiest airport in the state. Palwaukee Municipal Airport, a designated reliever airport, is located in the southeast quadrant of the Village off Milwaukee Avenue (Illinois 21). At last count, 320 aircraft are based at the airport, the majority of them corporate-owned, affording business travelers and air freight access to the metropolitan area without the cost and delay associated with O'Hare. Municipal ownership of the airport has provided impetus to improve and update facilities at the airport in order to serve the increasing amount of corporate air travel. Numerous business aircraft use Palwaukee, now in the the middle of an improvement program that includes hangar construction, runway, and drainage improvements. These improvements permit virtually any corporate jet to use the airport on a daily basis. With its expanding role as a destination airport in the northern metropolitan area, Palwaukee has proven to be a major benefit to the local business community. Two fixed base operators service the airport, along with the numerous other airport-related services such as car rental, aviation consultants, air charter, and aviation education.
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