Timing is everything for communities hoping to take advantage of a massive widening project along the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) to build some long-desired interchanges or improve existing ones.
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority board directors Wednesday approved an intergovernmental agreement allocating $1.75 million toward engineering and design of a full interchange at I-90 and Barrington Road in cooperation with Hoffman Estates.
The total cost of the plans is $3.5 million with Hoffman Estates providing the remainder.
Currently the interchange just allows drivers to travel east on I-90 or if you're eastbound on the toll road to exit at Barrington Road, which was sufficient back when the Jane Addams was built in the 1950s. But development in the area and the proximity of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital has made full access a priority. The project increases regional mobility and spurs economic growth in the area, Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said.
The rebuilt interchange would allow for a new bridge over I-90 with ramps permitting access to the westbound tollway lanes and an exit for eastbound Jane Addams traffic.
Officials called Wednesday's actions a first step. Funding the actual construction is still being worked out. Building the full interchange will cost from $65 million to $70 million. The tollway would contribute half and the Illinois Department of Transportation is committed to 25 percent or $18 million while the other 25 percent will come from Hoffman Estates and other sources, officials said.
The tollway is expanding I-90 to three lanes in each direction between Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza and to four lanes in each direction from the toll plaza out to Chicago. The work is projected to accommodate 30,000 more vehicles a day.
Other interchange proposals under consideration during the construction include Irene Road in Belvidere and the east McHenry County area. The tollway is already converting the I-90 and Route 47 partial interchange to a full-service one.
The tollway's full board will give a final vote on the plan next week.