Illinois Tollway and DuPage County officials recently broke ground on a $112 million project to reconfigure and rebuild the Naperville Road interchange on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) to reduce congestion for Tollway drivers exiting at Naperville Road as well as those traveling on the local road network.
Naperville Mayor George Pradel and DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom were joined by Illinois Tollway Chairman John Mitola and Acting Executive Director Brian McPartlin to dig the first shovels full of dirt on the site where a new connector road will be completed for traffic accessing the reconfigured Naperville Road Interchange. The interchange improvements are part of the next phase of the I-88 Rebuild and Widen Project between Washington Street and Finley Road, part of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's $5.3 billion Congestion-Relief Program for the Illinois Tollway.
"Drivers are already enjoying a smoother ride on the 'washboard' section of I-88 rebuilt last year and now the Rebuild and Widen work continues to help save them time on their commutes," said Gov. Blagojevich. "Improvements to the Naperville Road Interchange will further ensure drivers can now get to their destinations faster and with less stress, which improves their quality of life."
In addition to coordinating construction of the local improvements with the Tollway's I-88 Rebuild and Widen Project, DuPage County has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Tollway, committing to fund about $50 million in cash and in-kind contributions-nearly half of the cost of the interchange and related local improvements.
The Tollway is the lead agency on the reconstruction of the interchange, while DuPage County is responsible for the local roadway improvements, including right-of-way costs as well as engineering and construction of the new connector road needed to access the reconfigured interchange. DuPage County is also sharing construction costs with the Tollway for the reconfigured ramps.
"Our cooperative effort with the Illinois Tollway will greatly improve congestion faced every day by local residents and commuters on the local roads in this area. In addition, this project gives us the ability to start from scratch and build a new and improved interchange that is already spurring new economic development, bringing jobs and enhancing our county's economy," Schillerstrom said. "These improvements are well worth DuPage County's investment in this project."
Illinois Tollway policy requires local participation from communities that benefit from Tollway improvements and enhanced access. In addition to DuPage County's local contribution, the Tollway has agreements with other communities for Tollway other improvements, including a $20 million local contribution from communities that will directly benefit economically from the construction of the 12.5-mile extension of the North-South Tollway (I-355) in Will County from I-55 to I-80.
"Faced with many requests for interchanges and infrastructure improvements, the Illinois Tollway must carefully weigh the local benefits with the needs of our existing regional system and, unfortunately, we can't fund them all and still make the necessary maintenance and improvements to our own system of roadways," Mitola said. "DuPage County's commitment to share financially in the Naperville Road Interchange project is a win-win for Tollway commuters and DuPage County residents."