Travel Information Overview
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H.E.L.P. on the Illinois Tollway
Need assistance on the Tollway? Dial *999. To improve service to our customers, the Tollway launched the H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker to help drivers who have requested roadside assistance to identify where trucks are along the road and when they are headed in their direction.The Tracker is active during hours of H.E.L.P. Truck operations.
The Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) program is funded in part by State Farm®. The innovative sponsorship provides support for the successful H.E.L.P. program, furthering the Tollway's efforts to reduce delay and improve safety for the motoring public.
Remember: If you see ANY vehicle stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights #GiveThemDistance. Slow down. Change Lanes Safely. #Move Over. It's the law in Illinois.
Twelve H.E.L.P. trucks patrol the Tollway system. Maintenance personnel are trained to provide roadway assistance to stranded Tollway customers and traffic control at accident scenes.
- H.E.L.P. hours of operation: Monday-Friday 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- The Tollway is patrolled 24 hours a day by Illinois State Police District 15
In one year, H.E.L.P. truck operators drive enough miles to circle the Earth 24 times! H.E.L.P. truck operators provide an array of services:
- Changing tires
- Battery boosts
- Adding coolant*
- Dispensing fuel*
- Transporting customers
- Moving vehicles away from traffic
- Calling for a tow
Gratuities are strictly prohibited.
*Small fees may be charged for this service and must be mailed to the Tollway. H.E.L.P. truck drivers cannot accept payment.
*999 is funded by the Illinois Tollway and Illinois Department of Transportation.
Call for H.E.L.P. Dial *999
Dial *999 on your cellphone to report incidents on the Illinois Tollway. If you are experiencing an emergency, you should call 911 from your cellphone. You can also call Illinois State Police District 15 directly at 630-241-6800 extension 5028.
A dispatcher will receive your call and send the appropriate responders to the scene. When calling, have the following information available:
- Location: name of roadway and direction of travel
- Closest milepost
- If reporting a crash, number of vehicles involved
- Description of vehicles involved (type and color)
If you are involved in a roadway incident, please try to pull your car to safety on the shoulder of the road and turn on your emergency flashers. If it is safe, you should remain in your vehicle until assistance arrives.
The agency has earned a reputation as one of the most efficiently operated and maintained interstate systems in the nation.
Motorists on the Illinois Tollway can receive assistance from a number of sources, including Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks, Tollway maintenance employees, Illinois State Police District 15 officers and authorized tow operators.
- Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
- Illinois Route 390 Tollway
Safety Tips for Driving in Work Zones
WATCH FOR WORKERS.
Keep an eye out for the safety colors of neon orange and yellow that all workers wear when on the roads.
SLOW DOWN WHETHER OR NOT WORKERS ARE PRESENT. It's the law.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and follow the posted speed limit
- Work zone traffic lanes are narrower than other lanes
- Traffic patterns shift often
- Pavement may be uneven in sections
PENALTIES FOR HITTING A WORKER ARE SEVERE.
The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone:
- $250 for the first offense
- $750 minimum for second offense
- Hitting a worker in a work zone could result in a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 14 years in jail
Illinois law requires drivers to slow down and change lanes safely when approaching ANY vehicle with its hazard lights on, not just emergency and maintenance vehicles.
- Reduce speed
- Change lanes if possible
- Proceed with caution
DROP IT AND DRIVE.
Using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in Illinois. Keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.
Watch for signs advising of traffic shifts, roadway incidents and other warnings.
One of the most common crashes in a work zone is a rear-end collision. In addition, traffic in work zones makes sudden stops.
IF YOU MUST PULL OVER OR ARE IN AN ACCIDENT IN THE WORK ZONE, STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE.
Call *999 for non-emergency roadway assistance.
Towing and Road Service on the Tollway
If requested, the Tollway can dispatch an authorized company to provide road service. Motorists have the option to call any tow company and are not required to use Tollway-authorized companies unless their vehicle is blocking a live traffic lane or is in an unsafe location. Illinois State Police District 15 can order these vehicles to be immediately towed. Motorists are responsible for paying charges for services.
- Maximum permissible rates have been established with Tollway-authorized companies.
- All authorized tow vehicles display the Tollway seal on the side of the truck and will issue invoices for services on a Tollway-provided invoice. The maximum rates are published on the back of the invoice.
Potholes typically occur on older pavement and can pop up overnight. The Illinois Tollway mobilizes maintenance teams systemwide to address these problems as quickly as possible. If you see a pothole during your ride on the Tollway, please call *999 to report it. Learn more about the Anatomy of a Pothole.
Pothole Repair Questions
Potholes start to form when moisture such as rain or snow trickles into cracks and gets under the pavement. Cracks are small at first. But with the stress of heavy traffic and continuing temperature changes, cracks can turn into potholes.
As temperatures drop, water in the cracks expands, making the rift larger and providing space for more moisture to collect during future thaws.
With dramatic temperature changes, from freeze to thaw, more water collects under the surface; when this water freezes, it expands and pushes up the old pavement. This further weakens the pavement and exposes cracks to snow plows.
Once the ice melts, a space is left in the pavement. The weakened pavement is then under the pressure of plows, salt and heavy truck traffic.
The Tollway has crews at each of its 12 maintenance sites dedicated to pothole repair. During periods when potholes are most prevalent, Tollway maintenance staff may work around the clock to manage potholes in critical areas. Repairs are scheduled to have the least impact on traffic.
Storms and breakdown of old pavement require temporary patches almost daily on older roadways until we can mobilize crews to grind off the crumbling layer of asphalt and lay down a new layer that will last through the winter.
Safety is our first concern. If you get a flat tire caused by a pothole, move your vehicle to the shoulder if you can do so safely before attempting to change the tire. Call *999 to request assistance if needed.
In order to file an insurance claim, a police report must be filed with the Illinois State Police. Call 630-241-6800 extension 5042 to file a report for non-criminal damage, as well as incidents that don't involve injuries, tolls or hit-and-runs.
Please have the following information available when filing the report:
- Name, address, phone number, daytime contact information, date of birth
- Driver's license number, state, classification
- Make, model, year of manufacture
- License plate number, state
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Name and address of owner (if not driver)
- Name of company
- Policy number
What can I do to protect my vehicle from pothole damage?
- Slow down and pay close attention to the road ahead. This increases your reaction time and could lower your risk of serious damage.
- Talk to your auto mechanic. Ask a trusted mechanic to look at your vehicle for uneven wear patterns in your tires. These may indicate misalignment. Also be sure to request a review of your shocks and brakes. Fixing any of these issues may help your vehicle's chances of withstanding a future pothole hit.
- Avoid driving too close to the side of the road. Potholes are more common in weakened areas, which tend to be either joint points or more heavily traveled portions of the roadway (where tires actually touch).
- Clean your headlights. Wiping down your headlights on a regular basis is a quick, cheap and easy way to maximize your visibility.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in order to increase time to recognize a pothole.
- Properly inflate your tires. Underinflated tires put you at risk of rim damage and overinflated tires are more susceptible to damage.
Customer Vehicle Damage
The Illinois Tollway has established a process for claims of property damage to a vehicle when an incident is directly related to system operations.
- Weather-related events and conditions
- Damage caused by other motorists
- Unreported road conditions or debris
Emergency Medical Services
If fire protection or ambulance services are required at an incident, the party benefiting from these services is responsible for reimbursement to the Tollway. The Tollway is a user-fee system and receives no tax dollars for maintenance or operations. Payment can be made in the form of a personal check or money order mailed to the Tollway using the address above. Credit card payments can be made by calling 630-241-6800 ext 4290.
Tollway Property Damage
If you have damaged Tollway property or have been involved in an accident which resulted in damages to Tollway property or costs were incurred by the Tollway to either clean up the accident or provide traffic control, the following is required:
- Report the incident to your insurance company immediately
- Complete the linked form and send it by mail (2700 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515), fax (630-241-6103) or scanned into an email within seven days of the incident occurrence
Payment for service rendered:
If you are liable for the damages to the Tollway, you are obligated to pay for fees incurred. If no arrangements are made to satisfy this obligation, then your name will be sent to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
If you wish to pay directly, you can do so in the following ways:
- Mail a check or money order referencing the claim number (if available) to:
Illinois State Toll Highway
Risk Management Division
2700 Ogden Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
- If paying by credit card, please call 630-241-6800 ext 4290.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Tollway's Risk Management team via email or call 630-241-6800 ext 4263
If you are uninsured it is very important that you contact the Tollway at 630-241-6800 ext 4263 to discuss payment options to avoid license/registration suspension.
Traffic and Roadway Operations Information
Many operations and maintenance units work together to reinforce the Tollway's commitment to providing congestion relief and superior customer service. These units include:
Fleet Maintenance provides for the upkeep and maintenance for approximately 737 licensed cars and trucks and 1,554 unlicensed roadway-related equipment such as end loaders, sweepers, snow plows and hopper bodies.
In order to use clean-burning alternative fuels, the Tollway has:
- 295 biodiesel fueled trucks
- 375 E-85 capable vehicles
- 16 hybrid vehicles
- 1 all electric vehicle
- 686 vehicles, or approximately 90 percent, use alternative fuel or are hybrids
In 2016, the Tollway used 328,373 gallons of E-85 fuel and 742,826 gallons of (B-5 and B-20) biodiesel fuel.
Central Dispatch is a 24/7/365 unit that is responsible for all radio communication with the Illinois State Police District 15 and Tollway maintenance and traffic operations.
Central Dispatch handles more than 215,000 incidents annually, monitoring an extensive network of alarms, answering motorist calls (including those from *999 motorist assistance service) and operating an integrated notification system that keeps Tollway employees up-to-date on system performance.
Building Maintenance is responsible for the daily maintenance of 110 Tollway buildings (plaza buildings, maintenance buildings, Central Administration Building, central warehouse, sign shop), which includes lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, electrical, plumbing and sewer maintenance.
The mission of the Roadway Maintenance unit is to plan and provide scheduled and routine preventive maintenance activities on the Tollway's pavement and right-of-way, as well as respond to emergency situations whenever they arise.
The Roadway Maintenance unit performs diverse activities on a daily basis, including crack sealing, pavement patching and repair, snow and ice control, motorist assistance, H.E.L.P. patrols, bridge maintenance, incident management and accident response, right-of-way lawn mowing, trash removal and routine landscaping.
The Traffic Operations unit plays a key role in incident management. In addition, to detect and confirm incidents, the Traffic Operations team communicates critical information to incident responders, customers, media and Tollway staff.
They also facilitate quick response and the clearance of incidents from live lanes. The Traffic Operations unit has grown to meet increasing demand for improved traffic and incident management and, in particular, the demand for increased work zone monitoring and management in support of roadway improvement programs.
Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS)
The Traffic and Incident Management System was developed as an ITS initiative to enhance and expand upon industry best practices in traffic and incident management.
Using 643 closed-circuit television cameras and 300 remote traffic monitoring sensors, the Traffic Operations Center operates as a clearinghouse for roadway information, including gathering details about:
- Road work
- Lane closures
Once information is gathered, TIMS operators use a variety of communications channels, including:
- Computer-aided dispatch
- Internet-based services
- 800-TOLL-FYI hotline
- portable changeable message signs
- 48 over-the-road dynamic message signs
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
The Illinois Tollway takes an integrated approach to maintaining safe and efficient travel on its system by merging the deployment of traditional roadway services with the implementation of advanced transportation technologies.
We use a variety of intelligent transportation system (ITS) resources to:
- Detect possible incidents
- Confirm details and location
- Communicate with necessary personnel
- Respond with the appropriate resources
- Resolve all events as safely and quickly as possible
ITS enables information about developing situations to be gathered more quickly and accurately, allowing the Tollway to respond faster and allocate the appropriate resources.
The Tollway also uses ITS resources on a routine basis to monitor and provide information about construction, weather-related activities and major events.
*Learn more about the Illinois Tollway's Incident Management Operating Information and Procedures Guide.
The Illinois Tollway offers special tolling accommodations to non-military vehicle convoys. A convoy consists of 10 or more separate vehicles – trucks, cars or motorcycles – traveling together as a group with the same travel itinerary.
Convoy tolls are charged to a single account holder who must register a pre-paid convoy account at least seven days before the planned trip on the Tollway system trip. Convoys may use open road tolling lanes and receive video tolls that are later charged to the convoy account.
If a vehicle in the convoy has an I-PASS transponder, the motorist must remove it or properly store it in foil wrap so that the vehicle is not charged twice at the same toll plaza(s).
Once the Tollway receives a convoy application, it will be forwarded to the Illinois State Police District 15 for approval. Once approved, the Tollway will notify the applicant of approval.
The license plate information of each vehicle in the traveling group, including state, number and type of plate, will be assigned to the convoy so that tolls can be properly assigned. (see page two of the application).
Complete the convoy application form and convoy license plate list.
Applications are accepted via the mail or via fax.
Please note: Applications are not accepted online, via email or over the phone.
Get Real Time Roadway Condition and Incident Alerts
Tollway customers can "follow" each of the five tollways – the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway – to receive real-time roadway incident and pavement condition information to help plan their trips.
Tollway Trip Tweets include information about the type of incident, the location by nearest crossroad and milepost, and the subsequent impact on traffic, such as lane closures. They also inlcude information regarding pavement conditions during inclement weather.
Tollway Trip Tweets are an informational service to be used by customers only when they are not operating a vehicle. It is against the law to email, text or tweet while driving in Illinois.
Remember: If you see ANY vehicle stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights #GiveThemDistance. Slow down. Change Lanes Safely. #Move Over. It's the law in Illinois.