Information Signage Guidelines
The Illinois Tollway receives numerous requests for traffic generator and specific service signs from various public and private entities along or near the Tollway system.
These signs include:
- Information Guide signs, commonly known as "blue board" signs, to direct travelers to lodging facilities and commercial tourist attractions at specific rural interchanges
- Recreational and Cultural Interest signs, commonly known as "brown board" signs, to direct travelers to attractions such as amusement parks, historical sites, museums, stadiums/arenas, auditoriums, zoos, racetracks, fairgrounds and state parks in both urban and rural areas
- Supplemental Guide signs identify facilities or points of interest that attract a sizable number of travelers such as major educational institutions, airports, transit facilities, law enforcement agencies, courthouses and municipalities
As a result of such sign requests, the Tollway has implemented a Traffic Generator and Specific Service Sign Policy to provide guidance and outline the criteria necessary for Tollway approval.
Other informational signage includes:
Blue Board Signage Program
The Blue Board signage program includes categories for lodging and attractions and involves mounting business sign panels on large blue board signs in advance of rural interchange exits and along exit ramps to alert motorists of available businesses/facilities.
This program does not apply to highways under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation. Camping and RV-only facilities, as well as fuel and food services, are not included in this program.
How the Program Works
Blue board signs can be installed, at select rural locations, within the right-of-way of the toll road after approval of a program application by the Illinois Tollway. There will be no more than one lodging sign and one attraction sign per interchange approach.
A sign may have a maximum of six panels. Where there are more than six eligible businesses desiring signage for a given category, those that file their application and fee first will be considered first. However, those closest to the nearest exit ramp may take priority if the closer business filed within the same calendar month as the earlier applicant.
Decisions on which facilities are granted sign access and the associated time period are solely at the discretion of the Illinois Tollway, and all such decisions shall be final. Eligible lodging facilities and attractions shall comply with laws concerning the provision of access without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex or national origin and laws concerning the licensing and approval of the specific lodging facilities.
Blue Boards - Attractions
To qualify for an attraction panel, a business must be within five miles in either direction of the interchange and should have:
- Licensing or approval where required
- Open a minimum of 100 days per year
- Adequate parking
- Public telephone
- Modern sanitary facilities
Logos must be either an identification symbol/trademark or a word message and cannot resemble an official traffic control device. The logo panel must be designed, fabricated and furnished by the business at their expense to the Illinois Tollway. The Illinois Tollway will install blue board panel(s) on a sign furnished and installed by the Tollway when the agency judges that there is sufficient interest.
Blue Boards - Lodging
To qualify for a lodging panel, a business must be within three miles in either direction of the interchange and should have:
- Licensing or approval where required
- Adequate sleeping accommodations and modern sanitary facilities
- Year-round operation
- Public telephone
As a result of such sign requests, the Tollway has implemented a Traffic Generator and Specific Service Sign Policy to provide guidance and outline the criteria necessary for Tollway approval.Click here
Fees for Participation
The non-refundable application fee is $100. This covers the cost of the site investigation.
The initial annual fee is $2,000 for a panel set. This includes the signage in both mainline approach directions and on all associated ramp signs. Each panel set includes four boards.
The subsequent annual fee is $950 for the set. Payment must be made within 30 days of the invoice date or the panel will be removed.
In the event that:
- A panel is damaged - the business must provide a replacement panel at its own expense. The Illinois Tollway will be responsible for repairing or replacing the sign, its structure and installing the replacement panel.
- The business ceases operation - the business must notify the Illinois Tollway that it has ceased operation so the panel can be removed.
Signage Program Interchange Locations
The use of traffic generator signs is generally focused on rural areas, because in urban areas it is expected that many services and attractions are readily available. Therefore, only brown board signs are allowed in urban areas of the Tollway.
|Jane Addams Tollway (I-90)
|Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
|Veteran's Memorial Tollway (I-355)
|U.S. Route 30
|U.S. Route 6
|Illinois Route 173
|Illinois Route 26
|159th Street/ U.S. Route 7
|East Riverside Boulevard
|Illinois Route 251
|Business U.S. Route 20
|Annie Glidden Road
|U.S. Route 20 Marengo
|Illinois Route 47
|Illinois Route 56
|Illinois Route 31 (lodging only)
Program participants are responsible for reading and understanding the Traffic Generator and Specific Service Sign Policy Guide.
Brown Board Signs
Recreational and Cultural Interest signs, also known as "brown boards," include accommodations that are essentially recreational in nature. Requirements include annual attendance of at least 300,000 for urban attractions and annual attendance of at least 200,000 for rural attractions.
Another type of brown board is points of interest signs, which provide guidance to two or three facilities that may not individually meet the required specifications, but do so collectively.
The Tollway permits no more than one brown board sign per interchange approach. Facilities may provide logos for installation on the signs, but the signs are installed and maintained by the Tollway.
Entities wishing to explore the potential for the Tollway furnishing and installing a brown board sign can submit a request in writing to the Incident Manager. Engineering staff will review the request and obtain information from the requestor to decide whether a sign would be appropriate.
Please refer to the Traffic Generator and Specific Service Sign Policy for detailed information, including requirements to qualify for consideration of a permanent brown board sign.
Supplemental Guide Signs
Supplemental Guide signs convey additional information identifying facilities or destinations of interest accessible from the Tollway. Criteria for this type of sign differs by category – educational institution, municipality, etc. But, typically, these destinations will be within 3 to 5 miles of the Tollway for urban areas and within 5 to 10 miles of the Tollway for rural areas.
Entities wishing to explore the potential for the Tollway furnishing and installing a supplemental guide sign can submit a request in writing to the Incident Manager. Engineering staff will review the request and obtain information from the requestor to decide whether a sign would be appropriate.
Please refer to the Traffic Generator and Specific Service Sign Policy for detailed information, including requirements to qualify for consideration of a permanent supplemental guide sign.