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updated: 7/30/2011 7:33 AM

Addams Tollway would be 8 lanes from Kennedy to Elgin

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As the tollway authority made its sales pitch to almost double tolls next year, officials said their "job number one" is to take care of the system's existing needs.

Topping that list of needs is the reconstruction and widening of the 52-year-old Jane Addams Memorial Tollway from I-294 to Rockford.

The roughly $2.3 billion project, which is part of a proposed 15-year capital plan, calls for 62 miles of roadway improvements, including ramp and bridge repairs. I-90 would be widened to eight lanes from the Kennedy Expressway to the Elgin Toll Plaza and to six lanes from the Elgin Toll Plaza to I-39.

The "21st century, state-of-the-art corridor" would accommodate as many as 30,000 additional cars and trucks a day, tollway officials said. It also would save motorists up to 25 minutes on the average trip from Elgin to the Kennedy Expressway.

A group that promotes economic development in Boone County says rebuilding I-90 is crucial to that area's economy.

"It is our river of commerce," said Mark Williams, executive director for Growth Dimensions of Belvidere and Boone County.

June Johnson, Schaumburg's director of transportation, said village officials support the proposed I-90 improvements.

"We look forward to the relief of the congestion in this area that we have experienced for the past decade," Johnson said.

She also praised the tollway's plan to widen median lanes and shoulders in each direction so other agencies could add express bus service or a rail system in the future.

"We couldn't just think about widening the Jane Addams," said Kristi Lafleur, tollway executive director. "We needed to think about how to be creative about those dollars that we're spending."

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