Transportation in Northern Illinois impacts people in so many ways, including quality of life, cleanliness of air and water supplies and the character of local neighborhoods. The Tollway's leadership is committed to fostering environmental responsibility and sustainability in everything the agency does.
The Illinois Tollway strives to plan, design and construct roadway projects in accordance with state and federal regulations while using best practices to protect and enhance the natural and physical environment.
We are a dedicated environmental steward. Although the Tollway receives no state or federal funding, we adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act. The Tollway's environmental unit is responsible for coordination, communication and the acquisition of environmental permits for construction.
Plant a Tree
The Illinois Tollway is committed to minimizing the environmental impacts of its roadways by adopting wetland improvement and landscaping projects with local and regional benefits. As part of this effort, the Tollway partnered with The Morton Arboretum to enhance aesthetics and expand tree canopy coverage within Tollway system, including the planting of 58,000 trees.
The Illinois Tollway seeks to minimize the environmental impact of roadway construction by reducing, recycling and reusing materials. The Illinois Tollway is committed to using renewable energy and green technology, as well as adopting research initiatives and best practices to reduce energy use and costs.
Natural Environment and Resource Protection
The Tollway seeks to adopt mitigation and landscaping projects with local and regional benefits, as well as best practices to improve nearby wetlands and waterways.
- Wetland mitigation – For every acre impacted, a minimum of 1.5 acres will be restored or created.
- Native vegetation – Use native and adaptive vegetation to reduce maintenance and mowing costs.
- Stormwater management – Continue and expand surface and groundwater monitoring research; use results to guide future work.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
Increase the use of recycled, reused and reclaimed materials. New programs will quantify resources preserved and materials recycled, as well as eliminate landfill waste.
- Waste-reduction work zone – Develop a pilot project to eliminate construction waste that is traditionally sent to landfills for disposal.
- 100 percent recycled materials – Recycled concrete, asphalt and other materials, including roof shingles and tires, will be used as base materials, backfill and in new pavements.
Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
The Tollway seeks to incorporate renewable energy sources and conservation strategies proven to provide operational and maintenance benefits to conserve energy and reduce costs.
- Renewable energy – Install solar, wind and geothermal systems.
- Warm-mix asphalt – Maximize use in place of hot-mix asphalt on all program projects, reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption by about 20 percent during asphalt production.
Investing in Technology
Incorporate new and innovative technologies to reduce maintenance and operating costs without sacrificing quality and efficiency.
- LEED-certified buildings – Develop construction plans for maintenance facilities and other buildings that meet standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and other green certification standards.
- Intelligent Transportation Systems – Installation and use of dynamic message signs, portable changeable message signs, cameras and other technologies to enhance safety and reduce delays; every minute of delay can result in four minutes of congestion.