Installation of SmartRoad Gantries Beginning on Central Tri-State Tollway
Work is has started and will continue through March for the installation of 14 over-the-road SmartRoad gantries as part of the Central Tri-State (I-294) Project.
The Illinois Tollway is installing the new SmartRoad gantries as part of active traffic management technology that will make travel more efficient for Tollway customers.
Each of the new SmartRoad gantries installed will be equipped with electronic signage and message boards that will be operational upon completion of the reconstruction and widening work on the northern section of the Central Tri-State Tollway between Balmoral Avenue and St. Charles Road by the end of 2024 and after the new SmartRoad system installation and testing is complete. The new gantries will not be used for toll collection or toll violation enforcement.
As part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project, the 22-mile corridor will be reconstructed to include flexible infrastructure to enable the Tollway to add new "smart" features as needed or as they become available in the years to come.
Altogether the new I-294 SmartRoad corridor will include a total of 80 high-tech gantries placed every half mile between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue.
The new I-294 SmartRoad will feature:
- Active traffic management (ATM) - ATM will provide real-time information to drivers on message boards specific to each lane of traffic that will include the nature and status of traffic incidents, advisory speeds, real-time lane closure notification and traffic pattern changes.
- State-of-the-art wireless traffic sensors - New traffic sensors will be activated to provide more comprehensive travel time information. Sensors will also be added to ramps along the corridor, enabling the Tollway to monitor them for potential backups.
- New Flex Lanes (inside lanes and shoulders) on I-294 that can be used to direct traffic around an incident to keep traffic flowing and reduce backups to provide reliable service.
To support the new SmartRoad, the Central Tri-State Project includes upgrades and expansion of the roadway camera system on I-294 from analog to digital high-definition to enhance the Tollway’s ability to better respond to roadway incidents. The new roadway cameras will provide increased coverage and include the full length of the Central Tri-State corridor from Balmoral Avenue to 95th Street.
Enhancements will also include state-of-the-art weather stations upgraded to provide pavement monitoring and weather conditions at critical locations, including bridges throughout the system.
In addition, the SmartRoad gantries will include overhead electronic message boards with higher-resolution, full-color graphic capable models, which will feature smaller, four-color digital message signs to enhance communications with drivers throughout the corridor.