Inside the Tollway

News, stories and insight from inside the Illinois Tollway.

National Outstanding Project and Leader Award Winner

2018 Illinois Tollway Annual Report - Year in Review

The Illinois Tollway builds and operates great roads because it has great engineers—and the awards they’ve won prove it.

Chief Engineering Officer Paul Kovacs is the latest Tollway engineer to be honored, receiving the 2019 national Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award in the government category presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers

Kovacs, the longest serving chief engineering officer in Tollway history, is being recognized for his career accomplishments, which include managing the agency’s 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program, which is expanding, rebuilding and reshaping the Tollway system. 

Launched in 2012, the first seven years of Move Illinois are on schedule and within budget, delivering the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway, a widened and rebuilt Jane Addams Memorial Tollway with a new SmartRoad corridor, as well as opening a new interchange connecting the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57.

The award honors Kovacs for his success in integrating innovation and new technology into roadway projects and for anticipating the future needs of Tollway drivers as well as for creating more opportunities for small, diverse and veteran-owned firms to participate on Tollway projects.

He joined the Tollway in 1999 as a senior project engineer managing Tollway bridge, roadway and interchange projects and later oversaw the systemwide work to remove conventional toll booths and install next-generation open road tolling plazas. He became chief engineering officer in 2007, managing all design and construction operations on the Tollway’s 294-mile system that serves more than 1.6 million daily users.

Barrington Road Interchange Is Making Travel Better

The Illinois Tollway’s eye-catching new Barrington Road Interchange and in-line transit station for Pace buses is turning heads and making travel faster and easier on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90).

Now, the distinctive $68 million interchange, which is controlled by a single set of traffic signals and includes a 250-foot-long, glass-enclosed walkway over I-90 for Pace riders, is winning awards.

The Barrington Road Interchange Project has been named Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association Chicago Metro Chapter for the benefits it provides drivers and riders and for the collaborative effort by the Tollway and other agencies to build it.

The Tollway partnered with Pace, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Hoffman Estates to fund, design and construct the project, which was completed in 2018. The work was done as part of the Tollway’s landmark decision to invest $240 million to integrate transit in the I-90 corridor, which includes adding inside Flex Lanes to accommodate Pace bus service.

More information on this project can be found here.

The Tollway redesigned and expanded the Barrington Road Interchange to provide full access to I-90, while creating a four-way signalized intersection to improve traffic flow on Barrington Road.

Pace led the design and construction of the new I-90/Barrington Road Transit Station, which includes the region’s first in-line ramps that allow Pace buses to pick up and deliver passengers at the station, then pull directly back onto I-90 without ever leaving the Tollway. The configuration allows faster, more direct access to I-90 for Pace and its passengers.

The station also includes a 170-space parking lot, two pedestrian underpasses and the overhead walkway that allows Pace riders to reach buses from either side of I-90.

The Barrington Road Project prompted Pace to launch the largest expansion of service in its history, adding six new routes and enhancing service on six others. Since the completion of the project, pace ridership on the I-90 corridor has increased by 22 percent on weekdays and 25 percent on Saturdays.

Click here to read more about other exciting Tollway interchange projects, including the new interchange that will be built on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) at 88th Avenue/Cork Avenue in Justice. 

More information about the Tollway policy for constructing interchanges can be found here

Tollway Kicks Off 2018 Annual Report

2018 Illinois Tollway Annual Report - Year in ReviewEvery year, the Illinois Tollway submits its annual report to the state of Illinois by March 15 in accordance with the Toll Highway Act. This year, the Tollway prepared a digital report where sections are being previewed on social media channels and posted on the Tollway’s annual report webpage in the weeks leading up to the March 15 deadline. These highlights provide a snapshot of the Tollway’s successes and accomplishments for 2018 and feature short videos for each section.  

Across the agency, the Tollway had a successful year, advancing the Move Illinois Program and providing greater opportunities for businesses, communities and the region. Whether in planning or operations, in engineering or diversity, the Tollway’s departments are working together to establish a better, safer and more efficient transportation network. 

Follow the Tollway’s Annual Report using the hashtag: #ILTollwayAR2018 or on the Annual Report webpage.

Shape the Future of Regional Travel And Earn $50

When you travel around the Chicago area, do you go by car, train, bus or bike?

Sharing that information with the Chicago Metropolitan  Agency for Planning (CMAP) will earn you $50—and help shape future transportation projects in northeastern Illinois.

CMAP is looking for area residents to take the My Daily Travel survey to report how they get from place to place in our region. 

The information collected by the survey will be used to help create accurate computer models of traffic flow that will guide future transportation investments. Completing the survey also helps the Chicago area meet federal requirements and remain eligible for federal transportation funding. 
Households that complete the survey by May 2019 will receive $50. School districts that partner with My Daily Travel to promote the survey to their schools’ communities will receive $10 for each household that completes the survey. School districts that would like to participate must call the survey hotline (1-855-981-7286) to receive a customized URL, which will enable surveys to be “marked” as benefiting their district. 

Residents should sign up to take the My Daily Travel survey at or by calling 1-855-981-7286. 

Read more about the survey in this Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) blog post.

Stay Safe In The Cold

The Illinois Tollway steps up when temperatures fall.

The Tollway operates around-the-clock Zero Weather Road Patrols during dangerously cold weather to provide extra protection for stranded drivers.

The 24-hour patrols search for drivers stranded in disabled cars along the Tollway and respond to calls for help that come in to *999 motorist assistance, Illinois Tollway dispatch or Illinois State Police District 15.

Zero Weather patrols can assist drivers who have flat tires, empty fuel tanks and dead batteries, or transport drivers and passengers to a Tollway oasis or maintenance facility until they can obtain service or arrange a tow.The Zero Weather patrols augment other roadside assistance provided on the Tollway by H.E.L.P. trucks and Illinois State Police patrols to more quickly locate and aid stranded drivers when temperatures and wind chills are dangerously low.

Stranded drivers can always dial *999 for roadway assistance.

Drivers can obtain information about winter weather travel tips here on our website.




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