Illinois officials have sign-off ceremony for near last step to launch Elgin O'Hare western access

October 30, 2012

2012-10-30: At the Illinois Tollway's offices at Downers Grove this week they had a ceremonial signing of final planning and permitting documents (the famous federal FEIS) needed to start construction on an upgrade and tolling of an arterial west of O'Hare Airport. Plus a new stretch of highway east of the Airport, and a north south connector pike arouind the western edge of the Airport.

With all aprties having signed onto the FEIS a federal Record of Decision is then something of a formality.

The project includes converting the existing Elgin O'Hare expressway to a toll road, constructing an eastern extension of the existing Elgin-O'Hare Expressway from I-290 to O'Hare International Airport and constructing a toll road along the west side of O'Hare Airport connecting the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) on the northwest edge of the Airport to the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) immediate south of the Airport.

Cost of the full project has been put at about $3.8b but initial construction is put at $2.2b may be built with economies deferring some components

In a statement this week executive director Kristi Lafleur is quoted: "The Elgin O'Hare Western Access Project will provide the missing connectivity to O'Hare from the west and position this area to take full advantage of substantial redevelopment and growth opportunities that will create jobs and stimulate the local and regional economies."

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: "We've reached a milestone in our efforts to strengthen Illinois' role as a global economic powerhouse. 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."

State secretary of transportation Ann Schneider is quoted as saying they are "thrilled to be able to partner" with the Tollway to get the project built. IDOT has been leading the planning and permitting process needed to get federal approval. The Tollway will procure contractors for construction and finance construction with toll revenue bonds.

The Tollway hopes to begin construction with a design-build contractor in 2013. Initial construction would be 2x2 lanes but the Airport authorities are considering a new western Terminal which would boost traffic on the new tollroads, which could be widened inwards to 2x4 lanes. In portions there are Texan style frontage roads.

TOLLROADSnews 2012-10-30

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