HIGHWAYS: Ill. officials OK final EIS for Elgin O’Hare West Bypass Project

Project will reduce congestion, create western access to O’Hare Airport

October 31, 2012

Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider and Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur have signed the final environmental impact statement for the new Elgin O’Hare West Bypass Project.

Approval of this document helps pave the way for construction to begin as soon as next year. The project is part of the Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, and will improve travel efficiency, create western access to O’Hare International Airport, provide new, multimodal connections and reduce congestion. Going forward, to highlight the new access drivers will have to O’Hare International Airport, the project will be known as the “Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project.”

“We’ve reached a milestone in our efforts to strengthen Illinois’ role as a global economic powerhouse,” said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. “Investing in our infrastructure and opening a new door to O’Hare International Airport—a gateway to the world—will provide economic benefits across Illinois communities for years to come.”

The project includes converting the existing Elgin O’Hare expressway to a toll road, constructing an eastern extension of the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway to O’Hare International Airport and constructing a toll road along the west side of O’Hare connecting the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

The final environmental impact statement will be delivered to and signed by officials from the Federal Highway Administration, the final lead agency.

Notice will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, Nov. 9, at which time it will be available for public review on the project website at www.elginohare-westbypass.org. IDOT will continue to lead the environmental studies, which will conclude with a record of decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation by the end of 2012.

The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors created a new Elgin O’Hare Western Access (EOWA) Local Advisory Committee earlier in October to provide input as the agency prepares to begin construction of the long-awaited roadway project. The EOWA Local Advisory Committee is part of the Illinois Tollway’s efforts to increase outreach to communities impacted by the Tollway.