Summer is a busy season for travelers, and yet, it’s an even busier season for road work/repair/construction. So what’s a road warrior to do? Prepare. Schedule your trips with plenty of time to spare as a result of construction and the usual traffic we experience daily.
Watch out for these construction projects on Illinois tollways this summer:
WGN’s Sarah Jindra spoke to the region’s top transportation officials about the slowdowns commuters can expect on the roads and rails this summer and beyond. In part one of this series, here’s a look at the major projects to watch for on Illinois’ tollways:
I-294 THE TRISTATE TOLLWAY
Mile Long Bridge Repair Project
The Illinois Tollway has begun repairs to the “Mile Long Bridge”, which is the bridge between 75th and Archer. They plan to replace pavement and make repairs to the bridge joints. Drivers can expect lane closures and traffic shifts, along with off-peak lane closures. The project will be done in 2018.
Central Tristate Rebuilding Project
The Illinois Tollway is currently in the design phase for reconstruction of the Central Tristate from 95th St in Oak Lawn to Balmoral in Rosemont. This 22-mile section is currently four lanes each direction and carries some of the heaviest volume of passenger and freight traffic on the Tollway system, resulting in twice the amount of congestion delays when compared to the entire Tollway system. The plan calls for widening the inside shoulder in each direction to add a flex lane for future transit options, an additional lane along the corridor where needed, and upgrading the interchanges at I-55 and I-290. The improvements would result in 25-55% shorter peak travel times. This project is in the preliminary phase. Advanced construction would begin as early as 2018, and mainline construction is anticipated from 2021-2025. It’s projected to cost $4 billion with no toll increases.
294/I-57 Interchange Project
In 2014, The Illinois Tollway opened part of a new interchange at I-294 and I-57, providing access from NB I-57 to NB I-294 and from SB I-294 to SB I-57. Phase Two includes building ramps from SB I-57 to NB I-294 and SB I-294 to NB I-57. That phase isn’t set to begin for several years (the full interchange is scheduled be completed by 2024). However, The Tollway says it is currently looking into how it can accelerate Phase Two to complete the project sooner.
I-90 THE JANE ADDAMS TOLLWAY
At the end of 2016, The Illinois Tollway finished widening 62 miles of I-90 from Rockford to O’Hare. Now, it’s working on some final phases of work associated with the project.
- Launch of the smart road technology features on 16 mile stretch from Barrington Rd to the Kennedy with active traffic management features to alert drivers of incidents ahead. Late Spring/Early Summer.
- Diverging Diamond interchange at Elmhurst Rd. to eliminate left turns in front of oncoming traffic to be completed by the end of June.
- Barrington Rd interchange to be completed by summer 2017.
- 3 Pace Park N Ride locations at Randall, IL-25 and Barrington. Driver training for Pace Bus on shoulder starts this Spring and will be implemented this year.
I-88 THE REAGAN MEMORIAL TOLLWAY
Farnsworth Interchange Project
The Illinois Tollway is currently reconstructing the Farnsworth Ave bridge over I-88 and the ramps at the interchange. In 2017, the southbound side of the Farnsworth Avenue Bridge will be removed and reconstructed. The northbound side of the bridge was reconstructed in 2016. The full project will be complete at the end of the year.
Traffic on I-88 is reduced to one lane through the majority of the resurfacing project on I-88 from US-52 to US 30 in Rock Falls. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
I-355 THE VETERANS MEMORAL TOLLWAY
There is no major work scheduled in 2017 on I-355. Last year, The Tollway widened I-355 from 71st to 75th.
ELGIN O’HARE WESTERN ACCESS
Work began in 2013
IL-390 Project (Formerly Elgin O’Hare Expressway)
In 2015, The Illinois Tollway finished work on IL-390 from Lake Street to I-290 and tolling on that stretch of road started in July. Now, it’s finishing work on IL-390 from Rohlwing to Il-83. It’s scheduled to be complete by the end of the year and tolling will begin at that time. When done, it will cost $1.90 to drive the full 10 mile stretch of IL-390.
290/390 Interchange Project
Work continues this year on the I-290/IL-390 Interchange, which is scheduled to be done by the end of 2017.
New I-490 Project
By 2025, the tollway hopes to have a new road (I-490) built along the western edge of the airport, connecting I-90 to IL-390 and I-294. The ultimate goal is for there to be a western access point to/from O’Hare Airport.