A tolling system that avoids charging fees at entrances and exits is among the new details of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway extension and western bypass laid out at an open house Tuesday in Bensenville.
The Illinois tollway is building the $3.4 billion project that extends the existing expressway east along Thorndale Avenue to O'Hare International Airport. The extension will be connected to a another new toll road that will run along the airport's western border linking with the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) in Franklin Park and Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) in Des Plaines.
Initial plans call for an all-electronic road that avoids tolls at entry or exit ramps. Overhead gantries will calculate tolls based on miles, instead of at fixed points as is the current practice, planners said.
"The rate you pay ties into how much of the road you use," said Rocco Zucchero, deputy chief of engineering for planning.
Access to O'Hare from the west, a key goal for DuPage County, involves a "fishhook" entry from York Road, where current plans call for parking and bus service to terminals.
Officials said the extension and new interchanges on I-294 and I-90 will alter commuting patterns in the suburbs.
Those changes include a full interchange at Elmhurst Road and the Jane Addams plus access at the Tri-State and North Avenue using County Farm Road.
The eastern extension of the Elgin-O'Hare will have interchanges at Route 53, I-290, Park Boulevard/Arlington Heights Road/Prospect Avenue, Wood Dale Road and Route 83.
The western bypass would have interchanges with the Tri-State, County Line Road/Franklin Avenue, Irving Park Road, the Elgin-O'Hare, Route 72 and the Jane Addams.
Tolls are estimated to be 20 cents a mile.
"It's about time," Bensenville resident Jim Ingebrigtsen said. "All the years they fought this thing, which was inevitable to begin with." A number of communities near the project had opposed it and O'Hare expansion but compromises were struck in the last few years.
However, resident Paul DeMichele, a Bensenville Chamber of Commerce member who sits on a tollway advisory group, said the chamber is concerned about 20 businesses that are in the way of construction and likely to be demolished. The loss of those businesses could cost the village about $1 million in taxes.
"Our goal is to keep those businesses in town," he said, referring to relocation in Bensenville.