Traffic and Roadway Operations
In all, the Tollway operates and maintains a 286-mile system comprised of four corridors:
- Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
The Illinois Tollway has 2,047 lane miles, 642 bridge structures, 22 toll plazas and 50 ramp plazas. The agency has earned a reputation as one of the most efficiently operated and maintained interstate systems in the nation.
Many operations and maintenance units work together to reinforce the Tollway's commitment to providing congestion relief and superior customer service. These units include:
- Roadway Maintenance
- Fleet Maintenance
- Building Maintenance
- Traffic Operations
- Central Dispatch
- Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
- Traffic and Incident Management Systems (TIMS)
The mission of the Roadway Maintenance unit is to plan and provide scheduled and routine preventive maintenance activities on the Tollway's pavement and right-of-way, as well as respond to emergency situations whenever they arise.
The Roadway Maintenance unit performs diverse activities on a daily basis, including crack sealing, pavement patching and repair, snow and ice control, motorist assistance, H.E.L.P. patrols, bridge maintenance, incident management and accident response, right-of-way lawn mowing, trash removal and routine landscaping.
Fleet Maintenance provides for the upkeep and maintenance for approximately 717 licensed cars and trucks and 1,507 unlicensed roadway-related equipment such as end loaders, sweepers, snow plows and hopper bodies.
In order to use clean-burning alternative fuels, the Tollway has:
- 273 biodiesel fueled trucks
- 308 E-85 capable vehicles
- 9 hybrid vehicles
- 590 vehicles, or approximately 80 percent, use alternative fuel or are hybrids
In 2010, the Tollway used 32,959 gallons of E-85 fuel and 649,641 gallons of biodiesel fuel.
Building Maintenance is responsible for the daily maintenance of 110 Tollway buildings (plaza buildings, maintenance buildings, Central Administration Building, central warehouse, sign shop), which includes lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, electrical, plumbing and sewer maintenance.
The Traffic Operations unit plays a key role in incident management. In addition, to detect and confirm incidents, the Traffic Operations team communicates critical information to incident responders, customers, media and Tollway staff.
They also facilitate quick response and the clearance of incidents from live lanes. The Traffic Operations unit has grown to meet increasing demand for improved traffic and incident management and, in particular, the demand for increased work zone monitoring and management in support of roadway improvement programs.
Central Dispatch is a 24/7/365 unit that is responsible for all radio communication with the Illinois State Police District 15 and Tollway maintenance and traffic operations.
Central Dispatch handles more than 215,000 incidents annually, monitoring an extensive network of alarms, answering motorist calls (including those from *999 motorist assistance service) and operating an integrated notification system that keeps Tollway employees up-to-date on system performance.
The Illinois Tollway takes an integrated approach to maintaining safe and efficient travel on its system by merging the deployment of traditional roadway services with the implementation of advanced transportation technologies.
We use a variety of intelligent transportation system (ITS) resources to:
- Detect possible incidents
- Confirm details and location
- Communicate with necessary personnel
- Respond with the appropriate resources
- Resolve all events as safely and quickly as possible
ITS enables information about developing situations to be gathered more quickly and accurately, allowing the Tollway to respond faster and allocate the appropriate resources.
The Tollway also uses ITS resources on a routine basis to monitor and provide information about construction, weather-related activities and major events.
The Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS) was developed as an ITS initiative to enhance and expand upon industry best practices in traffic and incident management.
Using more than 300 closed-circuit television cameras and 127 solar-powered remote traffic monitoring sensors, the TIMS Operations Center operates as a clearinghouse for roadway information, including gathering details about:
- Road work
- Lane closures
Once information is gathered, TIMS operators use a variety of communications channels, including:
- Computer-aided dispatch
- Internet-based services
- 800-TOLL-FYI hotline
- 48 portable changeable message signs
- 39 over-the-road dynamic message signs
These channels are used to reach Tollway employees, traffic operations and maintenance personnel, emergency and enforcement agencies, the media and motorists.