ROADS/BRIDGES: Illinois I-290 widening project gets federal approval

U.S. DOT approved phase 1 of the plan to expand and rebuild the Eisenhower Expressway

July 31, 2017
The I-290 Eisenhower Expressway between Mannheim Rd and Racine Ave

Plans to expand and rebuild the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway in Illinois received federal approval this past week from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to proceed with the project.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) estimate the entire project would cost $2.7 billion. U.S. DOT approved phase 1 of the plan, though there is still no funding commitment to actually complete the work.

In addition to widening and rebuilding I-290, the plan calls for managed toll lanes to be installed on the Eisenhower between Mannheim Road and Racine Avenue. If approved, IDOT would install a fourth lane to I-290 in each direction between Mannheim Road and Austin Boulevard, which would bring the entire expressway to four lanes in each direction between I-88 and I-90/94.

The two center lanes, between Mannheim Road and Racine Avenue would be converted into a Hot 3+ lane, which would allow carpool vehicles and buses to ride for free. Other commuters could use the lane, but would be charged a toll. Three traffic lanes in each direction would remain free for drivers.

The proposal includes additional transit options and expanded linkages between Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority, as well as bicyclist improvements along the corridor.

Before any construction could begin on I-290, IDOT officials said managed toll lanes must be installed on I-55. Because of a lack of funding, no timeline has been established for either the I-55 or I-290 improvements.

The Eisenhower Expressway was designed for 100,000 vehicles per day, but IDOT officials said it currently handles double that amount.

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Source: Chicago Tribune

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