Ca-CHING: $1.90 in tolls to use 10 miles of future Elgin-O'Hare

DuPage and northwest Cook County drivers used to coasting along the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (I-390) for free might face some sticker-shock in 2016.

That's when the highway nicknamed the IHOP Expressway because it now runs only between Itasca and Hanover Park will debut as a new toll road with an extension east to I-290.

When a second segment to Route 83 is complete in 2017, it will cost $1.90 to travel 10 miles along the toll road, according to details of expected toll rates released Thursday by Illinois tollway planners.

That will include six toll collection points with rates ranging from 20 cents to 60 cents for I-PASS users. The road will be all-electronic, so overhead gantries will replace traditional toll plazas.

Tolls are about 19 cents a mile on the 10-mile stretch, although when the I-390 is extended to O'Hare International Airport in 2018, average rates will be 20 cents a mile.

It's a significant spike from other toll roads that charge about 6 cents a mile and is expected to help subsidize the cost of the project. The south extension of I-355, however, to I-80 near Joliet charges about 15 cents a mile in tolls.

The section of the expressway from Lake Street (Route 20) to I-290 will be complete in late 2015, but tolls will start in 2016.

The pricing was based on consultation with community leaders along the corridor and rates for similar projects nationwide, Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said.

Here are proposed toll collection points:

• A 30-cent toll west of Springinsguth Road.

• A 35 cent toll just west of Roselle Road.

• A 60-cent toll at the midpoint between Roselle and Meacham roads.

• A 25-cent toll at Arlington Heights Road.

• A 20-cent toll near Wood Dale Road.

• A 20-cent toll near Route 83.

When completed, I-390 will have 31 exits and entrances, an average of nearly three per mile, unlike other toll roads such as the Tri-State, which averages one exit and entrance per mile. That's one reason the agency is collecting tolls on the main highway and not at ramps.

There will be no tolls on full interchanges at Roselle Road, Meacham Road, I-290, Arlington Heights Road, Wood Dale Road or Route 83; or at partial interchanges at Lake Street, Springinsguth, Gary Avenue, Route 19, Wright Boulevard, Rohlwing Road, and Park Boulevard.

Local leaders preferred "a scheme where the tolling was as consistent as we could make it across the corridor and that interchanges weren't necessarily tolled - because sometimes that creates a perception that people are getting charged to get off and access local amenities," Lafleur said. "They did want to encourage people to use the road not just for long-distance trips but for shorter trips."

There will be one ramp that charges drivers 25 cents coming from Ketter Drive/Prospect Avenue to westbound I-390.

The expressway will be all-electronic, which means no collection buckets for people without an I-PASS. Drivers will be able to pay online and upgrades to the payment system are ongoing, officials said.

Rates for trucks will be set in 2015.

The extension is part of a larger project that links the expressway with a western bypass around O'Hare with connections to the Tri-State Tollway in Franklin Park and the Jane Addams Tollway in Des Plaines.

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