The Illinois Tollway and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are partnering to construct a new, all-electronic interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57.
On October 25, 2014, the Tollway opened the primary interchange connections between I-294 and I-57 and at 147th Street. This work is part of the Tollway's $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Building the Future.
On October 25, new ramps were opened to traffic connecting northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and southbound I-294 to southbound I-57, as well as an exit ramp from southbound I-294 to 147th Street and an entrance ramp from 147th Street to northbound I-294. Work included raising the level of the earth embankment, drainage culvert extension, erosion and sediment control, shoulder removal and replacement, as well as pavement and bridge construction.
In addition to the Tollway's work, IDOT rebuilt and widened 147th Street from Kedzie Avenue to Sacramento Avenue and from Mozart Avenue to Dixie Highway/Western Avenue this year.
Maintenance of Traffic
Whenever possible, the Tollway uses traffic shifts and shoulders to keep as many lanes open during peak hours as were available before construction.
The I-294/I-57 Interchange Project will relieve congestion on local routes, enhance economic development and improve overall transportation throughout the region.
The project is estimated at $719 million. The Tollway is coordinating work with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The completed Phase One of this project is expected to deliver 75 percent of the benefits to the traveling public.
The interchange is anticipated to serve more than 76,000 vehicles per day and provide direct freight access to Chicago's south suburbs – saving drivers $4 million annually in fuel. Tri-State Tollway drivers currently using I-80 to get to I-57 will save 25 travel hours per year using the new interchange.
In conjunction with the project, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) partnered with the communities of Dixmoor, Harvey, Markham, Midlothian and Posen to develop a I-294/I-57 Land Use and Economic Development Plan.The study area encompassed a portion of the communities near the I-294/I-57 interchange. The focus of this study was to identify key land use opportunities at interchanges and along major arterial corridors that will spur economic development both regionally and locally. Click here to view the I-294/I-57 Land Use and Economic Development Plan.
The I-294/I-57 Interchange is the fourth, all-electronic interchange on the Tollway's system. The Illinois Tollway operates the nation's largest electronic tolling system, with more than 87 percent of all toll transactions paid electronically through I-PASS or E-ZPass.
Why use I-PASS? I-PASS customers get a 50 percent discount on tolls.
- Faster – I-PASS saves drivers an estimated 10 minutes per trip and 2.5 hours of travel time per week.
- Safer – I-PASS eliminates the challenge of changing lanes to reach the cash lanes at toll plazas.
- More convenient – I-PASS frees customers from worrying about finding exact change or remembering to pay their tolls online.
- Better for the environment – I-PASS reduces pollution because customers drive non-stop and avoid idling at tollbooths.
I-PASS account funds never expire and I-PASS can be used on the Chicago Skyway, Indiana Toll Road and in 14 other states that use E-ZPass.
The regular toll rate is $1.50 for customers who pay their unpaid tolls online with a discounted I-PASS rate of 75 cents, and truck rates range from $1.50 to $4.00 during daytime hours, with overnight discounts offered. Tollway customers who would like to pay cash to travel between I-294 and I-57 can still do so at the 159th Street Ramp Toll Plaza (40) or via the 163rd Street Toll Plaza (41).
For added convenience, the Tollway has opened a new temporary Customer Service Center at the Secretary of State Office in Midlothian, 14434 South Pulaski Road, through November 26, 2014. This satellite center located in the heart of the Chicago Southland will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and is intended to serve local residents who wish to obtain I-PASS, pay their unpaid tolls and receive other assistance.
Illinois Tollway customers who use the I-294/I-57 Interchange without I-PASS will have 30 days from the date of their unpaid toll to pay online – up from seven days on all other parts of the Tollway system. This extended, limited-time offer will expire on December 31, 2014. Beginning January 1, 2015, customers without I-PASS who use the I-294/I-57 Interchange will have seven days to pay their unpaid tolls.
For more information about how to obtain an I-PASS
As part of a larger campaign to educate customers about the new, all-electronic interchange and encourage them to get I-PASS, the agency is temporarily lowering the cost to $30 for a new I-PASS account from the current $50 or $60.
For new customers, the deposit required to obtain an I-PASS transponder will be permanently reduced from $20 to $10 for all account types. Additionally, both the initial pre-paid toll amount and the minimum rate to replenish I-PASS accounts will be reduced from $40 to $20 for customers who open new accounts through December 31, 2014.
For existing customers who replenish their accounts manually, a $10 deposit refund will automatically be applied to their I-PASS account balances in the form of a credit to their pre-paid toll accounts. Cash refunds will not be issued. Existing customers can also have their minimum rate to replenish I-PASS accounts reduced from $40 to $20 upon request.
To take advantage of these offers, new and existing customers must call 800-UCI-PASS (800-824-7277) weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit one of the Illinois Tollway's Customer Service Centers. (Offers not available online or at Jewel-Osco store locations).
As part of its capital planning process, the Illinois Tollway often seeks to acquire real estate needed for various public purposes, including the construction or expansion of the Tollway system. Land to be purchased by the Tollway is often referred to as right-of-way. The Tollway has adopted policies that provide fair and equitable procedures for the acquisition process.
|I-294/57 Land Acquisition Documents|
|Proposed Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Land Acquisition Map (pdf)|
|Relocation Program Summary (pdf)|
Work Zone Safety
Construction zone speed limits are in effect in all construction zones 24/7 and drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution, especially when workers are present. Visit the Tollway's Work Zone Safety page.