ROADS/BRIDGES: IDOT seeking private developers for I-55 managed toll lane project

Aug. 12, 2016

The state of Illinois is pursuing a plan to add an express toll lane to the Stevenson Expressway with some help from private developers

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) put out the call Thursday morning for private partners to help develop the Interstate 55 (Stevenson Expressway) managed lane project—new toll lanes from Bolingbrook to Chicago designed to alleviate congestion.

The project, which recently received federal environmental approval, would add a tolled express lane to the existing median between Interstate 355 and the Dan Ryan Expressway, essentially the final leg of I-55 heading into Chicago. The 25-mile stretch of road handles about 170,000 vehicles a day—15% of which are trucks—making it one of the most important commuting and freight corridors in the state.

Enlisting private developers would help cover the estimated $425 million cost of the project. Private partners would have a hand in designing, building, operating and managing the toll lanes.

Private firms need to submit their ideas by Sept. 8, with a public forum scheduled for Sept. 20 at the Holiday Inn O'Hare. IDOT needs approval from the General Assembly for the I-55 toll project.

If all goes as planned, construction could start as early as next year and wrap up in 2019, officials said.