AASHTO Journal, 1 November 2013
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider joined other state officials recently to break ground on the largest roadway project in Illinois, one that will reduce congestion and travel times and provide greater access to O’Hare International Airport.
The $3.4 billion Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project will reconstruct the existing Elgin O’Hare Expressway and extend new roadway east along Thorndale Avenue and O’Hare (now Illinois Route 390). The project consists of 17 miles of new toll roads and 15 new and improved interchanges, making the roadway the first all-electronic toll road in the state. Project advocates say the project will save motorists about $145 million in time and fuel each year by 2040, while also cutting down on traffic by about 16 percent during rush hour and reducing delays on local roads by 2 percent. IDOT also said the project will allow for three times more vehicles on local roads than can currently be accommodated.
“It is a tremendous honor to be here today with Governor Quinn, whose support for this project has been unwavering,” said IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider in a statement. “The Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project will dramatically improve transportation throughout Illinois’ northwest suburbs, the Midwest region and beyond.”
The project is part of the Illinois Tollway’s $12 billion, 15-year “Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future” capital program. IDOT and Tollway officials say the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project will have created or supported up to 65,000 jobs by the year 2040, when combined with the completion of the airport’s western terminal.
“I am so pleased to unveil the new Illinois Route 390 designation with Governor Quinn and so many others who have worked for decades to move this project forward,” said Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “It is through the cooperation of all the local governments and DuPage County that we are here today, ready to begin construction. Nothing says progress like shovels in the ground and I am certain that we will all remember this day for many years to come.”
The access project is expected to be completed in 2025. Additional information on the project is available here.