If your Memorial Day plans include a road trip via the tollway, you will have plenty of company. Illinois Tollway officials are expecting approximately 7 million vehicles will travel the Tollway system this Memorial Day holiday from Friday, May 25, through Tuesday, May 29.
The heaviest travel is expected on Friday, May 25, when nearly 1.6 million vehicles are projected to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway.
Tollway officials, in a prepared news release, stress the need to drive safely in construction work zones throughout the system. The Tollway is restricting construction activity and suspending all temporary construction lane closures over the holiday weekend.
“While there is a lot of construction activity happening on the Illinois Tollway this summer as part of our new Move Illinois capital program, we’ve made every effort to limit the impact of this work on our customers,” llinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said in a prepared statement. “There will be more vehicles on our roadways this Memorial Day weekend than average, so we remind customers to stay alert, obey the posted speed limit and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.”
Illinois’ distracted-driving law prohibits drivers from using hand-held wireless telephones while operating a vehicle in a construction work zone. In addition, state law prohibits drivers from using electronic devices to text, email or access Internet sites while driving a vehicle at any time.
Illinois State Police District 15 will be out in force patrolling the Illinois Tollway system throughout the holiday weekend. District 15 troopers will operate Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols during daytime and overnight hours, concentrating on enforcement of the fatal four offenses - speeding, DUI, seat belt compliance and distracted driving.
The Illinois Tollway reminds customers to “Drive Now. Text Later,” and advises drivers to pull over to a safe location or visit a Tollway oasis, where they can take a break; access free Wi-Fi; get something to eat and drink; fill their gas tanks; and stretch their legs before getting back on the road.
Tollway Construction Zones
To further increase safety, the Tollway is restricting construction activity and suspending all temporary construction lane closures from noon on Friday, May 25, through 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic.
Major construction areas where drivers should plan for slower traffic during the holiday include:
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Tri-Level Bridge ramps carrying northbound I-294 traffic to westbound I-90 and eastbound I-190 to westbound I-90 are closed for bridge reconstruction work. Traffic is detoured north through the cash side of the Touhy Toll Plaza, exit at Touhy west, turn right at River Road and re-enter I-294 southbound to reach westbound I-90. Drivers will not be double tolled.
- Between Half Day Road and Lake Cook Road, traffic is shifted to the left in both directions for pavement rehabilitation work.
- Between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue, traffic shifts and shoulder closures are in place for pavement repairs and resurfacing. Traffic splits are also in place over the Mile Long Bridge and the bridges at 87th Street and Roberts Road for bridge repairs.
- Between I-57 and Kedzie Avenue, I-294 traffic in both directions is reduced to three lanes for the reconstruction of the I-294 bridges over 147th Street.
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- Between Illinois Route 56 and Blackberry Creek, traffic is shifted to the right in both directions for pavement repairs and resurfacing.
- Between Annie Glidden Road and the DeKalb Toll Plaza and between Locust Road and Illinois Route 251, traffic is reduced to one lane in both directions for pavement repairs and resurfacing.
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Between the South Beloit Toll Plaza and Rockton Road, traffic is reduced to two lanes in each direction for an IDOT project between Rockton Road and the state line.
A 45-mph speed limit is in effect 24/7 in all construction zones, whether or not workers are present. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375.
Getting Tollway Construction Information
The Tollway offers a variety of ways for drivers to get the latest information, including:
illinoistollway.com—Construction/Planning Section—for details by road
1-800-TOLL-FYI—Daily lane closure information
travelmidwest.com—Real-time travel times
nbcchicago.com—Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway
Illinois Tollway Guides to Lodging and Attractions
The Illinois Tollway’s Guides to Lodging and Attractions provide a quick reference to local hotels and tourism attractions located near each of the Tollway’s interchanges. There is one unique guide for each Tollway corridor: the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355). Developed in coordination with the Illinois Office of Tourism and local convention and visitors bureaus, the guides are now available on the Tollway’s website, illinoistollway.com.