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Illinois Waterway,336 mi (541 km) long, linking Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River, N Ill.; an important part of the waterway connecting the Great Lakes with the Gulf of Mexico. The Illinois Waterway extends from the mouth of the Chicago River, on Lake Michigan, following the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the lower Des Plaines River, and the Illinois River to the Mississippi at Grafton, Ill. The Calumet channels branch southeast from the waterway and link it with the Calumet industrial region along the Ill.-Ind. border. Principal cargoes, carried chiefly by barges, are coal, petroleum, and grain products. Recreational areas have been developed along the waterway.
a canal in the United States, connecting the Great Lakes system with the Mississippi Basin. It rises in Lake Michigan at Chicago, where it is known as the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. It flows along the Des Plaines and Illinois rivers to Grafton, 60 km above St. Louis, where the Illinois discharges into the Mississippi. The Illinois Waterway replaced the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which was closed in 1900. More than 20 million tons of cargo pass along the canal each year, primarily petroleum, petroleum products, coal, and building materials. [10-374 -1]