Inside the Tollway
An Illinois Tollway planner is being honored for her leadership in creating the master plan for the $4 billion reconstruction of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294).
Senior Manager of Strategic Planning Aimee Lee received the 2019 Innovative Transportation Solution Award from WTS Greater Chicago in recognition of the work done by her team to plan one of the largest construction projects in Tollway history.
Lee led a diverse team that developed an master plan for the I-294 project under an aggressive, one-year schedule—one of the shortest time frames ever used by the Tollway for a major project. The shorter time frame relied on Lee’s ability to make rapid decision to keep the project moving forward and on schedule.
The WTS award recognizes both the innovation of the planning process and Lee’s role as a project manager in overcoming challenges and also involving women in leadership roles on the project. Five of the eight key managers on the team were women, overseeing utility and right-of-way work, as well as community outreach.
Her team directed the work of four consultant teams whose contracts totaled nearly $100 million. Eight of the 39 firms on the consultant teams were owned by women.
One of the major innovations in the planning process was that it developed a regional, long-term plan for the 22-mile-long Central Tri-State corridor, relying on input from customers, local communities, businesses and other transportation agencies. Incorporating this information into the master plan helped identify the corridor’s long-term needs and develop recommendations to address those issues.
Reconstructing the Central Tri-State Tollway from Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont to 95th Street in Oak Lawn will provide congestion relief, rebuild old pavement and infrastructure to meet current and future transportation demands and address regional needs for improved mobility and access to local communities.
The master plan created for the corridor also provides opportunities to deliver innovations such as SmartRoad with active traffic management and Flex Lanes to accommodate transit, including Pace bus service.