Deal in the works for eastbound I-90 exit to Lee Street

You can jump onto the eastbound Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) in the Northwest suburbs and cruise to Chicago, but if your aim is to get off earlier, say at Lee Street, forget about it.

But that inconvenience soon could change. Tollway board members Wednesday approved an intergovernmental agreement with Rosemont to build an eastbound exit ramp from I-90 to Lee Street.

The move was approved at a committee meeting but requires another vote at next week's tollway board session for the $10.9 million project. The tollway authority would split the cost 50/50 with Rosemont.

The tollway is wrapping its massive widening of the Jane Addams by one lane in each direction this year.

"We're out there doing our work on I-90. This is the best and most efficient time to make the connection," chief of engineering for planning Rocco Zucherro said.

If all approvals come through, the new ramp could be finished by the end of 2017.

The future Lee Street exit is in a key location near the Allstate Arena, Rivers Casino and O'Hare International Airport.

Drivers seeking to get on the westbound Jane Addams can use Devon Avenue, Zucherro said, adding that because of businesses and buildings in the area, creating a fourth leg of the interchange would be cost-prohibitive.

Rosemont has pushed for the access for months, but the village board has not voted on an intergovernmental agreement yet.

Des Plaines and Rosemont leaders have discussed splitting the local share, but no formal arrangements have been announced. The new exit ramp would be an economic boost to both towns, officials said.

The tradition of tollway interchanges offering access only to and from Chicago is ingrained in the region.

"There's an eastbound exit at Arlington Heights Road, and you bypass everything until you come to I-294," Zucherro said.

The status quo, however, is gradually shifting. Previously, the tollway opened an interchange at Route 47 in Huntley with ramps to and from the west and is finishing work on a full-access interchange at Elmhurst Road.

Lee Street exit off I-90 wanted but cost an issue

Renewed push for Lee Street tollway exit in Des Plaines

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