Online Staff Report
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — The Illinois Tollway will begin the process of returning traffic to the newly constructed eastbound side of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) between Rockford and Elgin next week as the first phase of the $2.2 billion I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project nears completion for this construction season. In addition, eastbound traffic will be shifted Sunday night, Oct. 6, at the Marengo Toll Plaza on I-90, requiring a temporary reduction in the number of open road tolling lanes.
Eastbound traffic between I-39 in Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza has been traveling on the westbound side of the road since spring to accommodate the rebuilding and widening of the eastbound lanes. The westbound lanes in this segment are scheduled to be rebuilt and widened in 2014, and work on the segment of I-90 from Elgin to Chicago is scheduled for 2014-2016.
“We’ve made tremendous progress this construction season, and we’re pleased to report that we’re on schedule to complete the western section of I-90 next year,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “This return to normal traffic patterns allows us to prepare for the winter break in construction.”
Traffic shifts will be scheduled throughout October on I-90 to return traffic to the eastbound side in remaining sections between Rockford and Elgin. Once completed, traffic will remain in this configuration over the winter; however, work will continue in the median to prepare for the rebuilding and widening of the westbound lanes in 2014.
Next week, traffic shifts are scheduled in a 7-mile section near Elgin and a 5-mile section near Belvidere, as well as at the Marengo Toll Plaza. Eastbound I-90 traffic will be shifted from the westbound side of the road onto new pavement on the eastbound lanes with a full right shoulder.
On the east end near Elgin, two lanes of traffic will be moved back onto the eastbound side between Brier Hill Road and the Union Pacific Railroad overpass near Elgin. On the west end of the project near Belvidere, two lanes of traffic will be moved back onto the eastbound side between the Union Pacific Railroad underpass and Tripp Road.
Work to shift mainline traffic is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7, in both sections, reducing traffic to a single lane overnight. The lane reduction and traffic shifts will be completed by 5 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, in advance of the morning rush hour.
Eastbound traffic will also be shifted next week at the Marengo Toll Plaza, requiring a temporary reduction in the number of open road tolling lanes. The eight-week closure is necessary as work continues to rebuild and widen the eastbound lanes between Rockford and Elgin.
At 10 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, one open road tolling lane will close for the traffic shift. When work is completed by 6 a.m., Monday, Oct. 7, eastbound traffic at the Marengo Toll Plaza will be shifted to the right and one of two open road tolling lanes will be closed for eight weeks to provide a work zone so the left shoulder and left lane can be rebuilt.
During this time, one open road tolling lane will remain open and a temporary I-PASS Only lane will be available on the cash collection side of the toll plaza to provide an additional non-stop option for I-PASS customers. In addition, two cash lanes with toll collectors will remain in place and all lanes will accept I-PASS.
Some delays are expected during peak hours and drivers are encouraged to use the I-PASS Only lane on the cash side of the plaza when traffic is heavy. In addition, depending on the destination, traffic traveling east toward Chicago and O’Hare International Airport can use I-39 to the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) as an alternate route.
Once the work on the left side of the eastbound lanes at the Marengo Toll Plaza is complete, two open road tolling lanes will be restored and construction will continue with work to rebuild the right shoulder and lane.
Work to rebuild and widen the eastbound lanes between Rockford and Elgin began this spring and will be completed by the end of the year, with the westbound lanes scheduled to be rebuilt and widened in 2014. Work to rebuild and widen the eastern section of I-90 is scheduled for 2014-2016.
When complete, I-90 will be a 21st century, state-of-the-art corridor linking Rockford to O’Hare Airport. The improved roadway will accommodate as many as 30,000 more vehicles per day and will save drivers $440 million annually because of reduced congestion and delays. The I-90 corridor from Chicago to Rockford serves nearly 1 million travelers per day.
A 45 mph speed limit is in effect 24/7 in all construction zones on I-90, whether workers are present or not. Drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution at all times.
Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375. Posted signs advise drivers of a $10,000 fine and 14-year jail sentence for hitting a roadway worker.
The Illinois Tollway has a variety of ways customers can get the latest travel information, including the following:
www.illinoistollway.com — Construction/Planning section and Tollway Trip Calculator
1-800-TOLL-FYI — Daily lane closure information
www.travelmidwest.com — Real-time travel times
www.nbcchicago.com — Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway
www.myfoxchicago.com — Latest traffic conditions
www.twitter.com — Real-time roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355 and Tollway Trip 94/294
Posted Oct. 5, 2013