Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Reconstruction
Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294)
The Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) is being reconstructed from Balmoral Avenue to 95th Street to provide congestion relief, reconstruct old infrastructure to meet current and future transportation demand and address regional needs. Work in 2018 will advance the Central Tri-State Tollway Project and the Tollway’s $4 billion investment to increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve travel reliability.
Construction will begin in the northern section with work scheduled between Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont and Wolf Road in Franklin Park including repairing, resurfacing and widening I-294 to five lanes between Balmoral Avenue and Wolf Road in Franklin Park, as well as reconstructing barrier walls, medians and shoulders in this area.
Construction in the central section will include repairs and new bridge deck overlays on local crossroad bridges carrying traffic over I-294.
A detailed planning and refinement process is underway to complete design and construction plans for the Central Tri-State Tollway Project. The project includes reconfiguring the I-290/I-88 Interchange at I-294, rebuilding the Mile Long Bridge and the BNSF Railway Bridge, as well as integrating Flex Lanes and SmartRoad technology.
Construction Update (10/10/18)
Between Balmoral Avenue and the O’Hare Oasis traffic is split in both directions, creating express lanes to the left and a workzone in the middle. In addition, traffic restrictions will include:
- Northbound traffic traveling in the express lanes on the left will not have access to the Balmoral Avenue exit.
- Southbound traffic traveling in the express lanes will not have access to the O’Hare Oasis or Irving Park Road exits, as well as cash lanes at the Irving Park Toll Plaza. I-PASS customers will be able to pay their tolls electronically in either lane. There is no toll collection at this toll plaza for northbound traffic.
- Trucks are prohibited from using the express lanes.
Traffic is expected to remain in this configuration through October.
Currently between Balmoral Avenue and the O’Hare Oasis, traffic in both directions is shifted to the outside shoulders, eliminating the merge lane for traffic entering northbound I-294 during this stage of construction.
In addition, work is underway at the Cermak, 82nd Street and 83rd Street Toll Plazas.
On Lawrence Avenue, traffic will be reduced to a single lane in both directions under I-294 beginning on Friday, September 28. Lane closures are expected to continue on an as-needed basis through November. Delays are expected.
The closures are needed to create a safe workzone for workers and drivers removal and replacement of the I-294 bridge over Lawrence Avenue is underway. Because the work is happening on I-294, drivers on Lawrence Avenue may not always see that workers are present. When there is no active work on I-294, all lanes on Lawrence Avenue will be reopened until the closures are needed again,
The two ramps connecting Irving Park Road to northbound I-294 are closed through the end of the year. A detour has been posted directing traffic to Mannheim Road and I-190 to access northbound I-294.
On I-294, between Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont and Wolf Road in Franklin Park, the Tollway will maintain four lanes of traffic in both directions during construction by shifting traffic at various points to provide work zones. Lane closures will be scheduled during overnight and off-peak hours for bridge removal and construction.
At the Irving Park Interchange, a six-month closure with detours will be needed for the ramps connecting Irving Park Road to northbound I-294.
A Regional Solution
The Central Tri-State Tollway is being reconstructed to increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve travel reliability. This work is part of the Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future. More than 220,000 vehicles use this portion of the Tri-State Tollway daily.
A detailed planning and refinement process is underway to complete a design concept for rebuilding the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). This process includes outreach efforts with customers, communities, businesses and partners to identify regional improvements and continue to refine the design details. As the Tollway moves forward with this planning process, updates on important issue areas and key project elements will continue to be posted to this page.
The Tollway is committed to “Building Green” and minimizing the environmental impact of construction by reducing, recycling and reusing materials.
In addition to reducing the cost of this work, reuse of these materials reduces the need for virgin asphalt materials and reduces energy consumption, greenhouse gases and the volume of material that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
Work Zone Safety
The Illinois Tollway is committed to ensuring that the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and local roads remain safe for both drivers and workers during construction, which is part of the agency’s overall commitment to roadway safety.
Work zone speed limits are in effect in all construction zones 24/7 and drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution, especially when workers are present.
Visit the Tollway's Work Zone Safety page.