CHICAGO (STMW) — The Illinois Tollway received final approval Thursday to construct the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, a $3.4 billion project to provide congestion relief projected to save drivers $145 million a year in time and fuel costs.

This sign-off by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation is the final last step in the federal review and approval process, a release from Gov. Pat Quinn’s office said.

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The Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project has been in the works for decades and is considered a “Project of National and Regional Significance” by the DOT, the release said

It will include construction of a new, all-electronic toll road around the western border of O’Hare Airport, linking the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), extend the Elgin O’Hare Expressway east along Thorndale Avenue to O’Hare, and repair and widen the existing Elgin O’Hare.

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The state says that the project is expected to create as many as 65,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2040 when combined with completion of the western terminal at O’Hare.

The Tollway is planning to spend $95.6 million in 2013 for work on the project, which could include noise walls along the existing Elgin O’Hare, Rohlwing Road (Route 53) grade separation and southbound Elmhurst Road over the I-90 bridge.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)