Illinois Tollway Highlights Infrastructure Investments as Part of HACIA Transportation Panel

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The Illinois Tollway, entering the 12th year of its 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program, continues to make strategic investments in its transportation infrastructure. Foremost among these investments in 2023 is continuing work to rebuild and widen the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) from 95th Street to Balmoral Avenue and to build the new I-490 Tollway along the west side of O’Hare International Airport. 

At the same time, the Tollway continues working to ensure that underserved communities benefit from those infrastructure investments while seeking ways to promote environmental responsibility and sustainability.

These key issues were addressed at the recent Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) Panel Discussion and Networking Event in Chicago. The annual event hosted by HACIA's Professional Services Committee provides an opportunity for transportation industry leaders to discuss upcoming projects and contract opportunities for small and minority firms to participate on those projects. 

Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse was joined on the panel by Acting Chief Engineering Officer Manar Nashif and Chief of Diversity and Strategic Development Terry Miller, as well as leaders from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, Chicago Department of Transportation and the City of Chicago Capital Committee.  

This year, much of the focus was on making sure that underserved communities realize many of the benefits that come from investments in transportation infrastructure, including health, environmental and economic impacts.

Tollway leadership provided numerous examples of how it is continuously working to achieve those goals, such as building the new Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange in the Chicago Southland. The new interchange has fueled millions of square feet of new commercial development in suburbs including Markham, Harvey, Posen and Midlothian, creating thousands of jobs for area residents.  

The Tollway’s recent environmental efforts include surpassing its commitment to plant the equivalent of 58,000 trees as part of a comprehensive landscaping master plan and continuing to work in partnership with Pace Suburban Bus to further integrate transit on the Tollway system. 

The Tollway continues to strengthen its diversity programs to ensure inclusion and equal opportunity for all. The agency is always looking for ways to increase opportunities for small, diverse and veteran-owned firms interested to compete for Tollway contracts, as well as open doors for traditionally underrepresented workers to pursue meaningful careers in the heavy highway construction industry.