Feds Approve Plan For Toll Lanes On Eisenhower Expressway

CHICAGO (CBS) — The federal government has given the green light to the state of Illinois to put in toll lanes on the Eisenhower Expressway, but the project won’t get underway anytime soon.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has proposed creating a so-called “managed lane” in both directions of the Eisenhower between Racine Avenue and Mannheim Road.

“These, essentially, would be a tolling option to help improve congestion, and travel time, and performance for everyone who uses the Eisenhower Expressway,” IDOT Spokesman Guy Tridgell said.

Tridgell acknowledged the state does not have the $2.7 billion needed to make the project a reality, including coming up with a final design.

“What this does is basically allow us to move on to final design and construction for the project. Funding is available for neither,” he said.

A similar plan for the Stevenson Expressway also has stalled over lack of funding. IDOT would like the Illinois General Assembly to approve a public-private partnership to pay for the Stevenson project, but so far lawmakers have not acted.

Unlike traditional toll lanes that have fixed prices, managed lane pricing would vary depending upon how heavy or not traffic is. In other words, the more congested the expressway, the higher the cost to ride the managed lane.

The Eisenhower project also would include creating more connections between the CTA and Pace.

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