Inside the Tollway
The Illinois Tollway grabbed nearly a dozen awards in 2019 for its innovative construction, outstanding customer service and environmental initiatives and for the skills of its engineers, planners and members of its leadership team.
Among the projects recognized by transportation and construction industry groups were the Tollway’s $4 billion reconstruction of the Central Tri-State Tollway and the I-290/Illinois Route 390 Interchange.
“These awards reflect the Tollway’s commitment to provide the best roadways, highest level of customer service and the most qualified, dedicated staff to serve the drivers who use our system,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Jose Alvarez. “We’re pleased that the quality of our work has been recognized and we’re determined to continue looking for new ways to provide the best possible service and travel experience to our customers.”
Among the awards received:
The Tollway was honored for its innovative use of concrete in the construction of the $440 million I-290 Interchange with the Illinois Route 390 Tollway. The award from the American Concrete Institute recognized the Tollway for using high-performance concrete mixes to construct longer-lasting bridge decks, pavement and retaining walls. Read more here.
The Tollway received a Toll Excellence Award for creating a new Customer Relationship Management System to more efficiently process a rapidly growing number of electronic toll transaction by customers using I-PASS or E-ZPass transponders. The award from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association notes that the Tollway uses a comprehensive system that includes customer self-service payment features, enhanced cybersecurity and new roadway lane technologies to accurately and securely process nearly 3 million toll transactions daily. Read more here.
The Tollway was honored for using biosolid waste products as natural fertilizers for native grasses, shrubs and trees planted along roadways and on other Tollway property. The award from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District recognizes the Tollway for using the biosolids to reduce its reliance on chemical fertilizers and for sustainably using waste products that otherwise would be landfilled. Read more here.
Tollway staff receiving awards included:
- Executive Director Jose Alvarez was named Champion of the Year by the Chicago Latino Caucus for his leadership and determination to emphasize improved customer service.
- Chief Engineering Officer Paul Kovacs received the national Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for his leadership in overseeing the Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program. Read more here.
- Senior Manager of Strategic Planning Aimee Lee received the Innovative Transportation Solution Award from WTS Greater Chicago for her leadership in rapidly developing the master plan detailing how the Tollway will reconstruct and widen the 22-mile-long Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). The $4 billion project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. Read more here.
- Senior Project Engineer Laura Thompson was honored as Young Government Civil Engineer of the Year for her work on major Tollway projects, including the I-290 Interchange at Illinois Route 390 as well as improvement projects on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355). Read more here.