After seven months of construction, motorists finally can use a new off-ramp on the northbound Tri-State Tollway at Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont, which opened this morning.
Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens and Illinois Tollway Authority Executive Director Kristi Lafleur inaugurated the ramp with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.
The $16 million project was jointly funded by the village and tollway agency. The village paid for the upfront construction costs and will be reimbursed by the tollway authority with future toll revenues.
The exit will only process tolls for people with I-PASS transponders, though signs tell motorists how to pay online if they don't have I-PASS.
The project involved reconstructing the existing southbound entrance ramp from Balmoral Avenue onto the Tri-State Tollway and the widening of the Balmoral Avenue bridge over I-294.
The off-ramp provides direct access to Rosemont's new entertainment and shopping districts under construction north and south of Balmoral, as well as Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont Theatre, and area hotels.
It also provides an alternate entrance into O'Hare International Airport, likely alleviating traffic congestion on River Road, and providing access to Metra and CTA stations.
The first phase of construction of the entertainment district is currently under way and set to be completed for a spring opening.