I-90 and Elmhurst Road interchange now set to open in June

It was supposed to be completed in 2016, then in late 2017, but now the much-awaited "diverging diamond" interchange at Elmhurst Road and the Jane Addams Tollway should open in June - at a cost.

Tollway Finance and Operations Committee members Wednesday approved a $2 million increase in a $33 million contract with builders F.H. Paschen and S.N. Nielsen & Associates to expedite the project.

The tollway "placed a priority on the mainline," Chief Engineer Paul Kovacs said, referring to the widening and reconstruction of I-90, which wrapped up last year, although some interchange work remains.

That included Elmhurst Road, an intricate project further complicated by utility relocations involving ComEd and Nicor.

"Crossroads were sacrificed for the mainline," Kovacs said. Now, "we want to do what's right for the motoring public."

There aren't many diverging diamond interchanges in Illinois, an engineering solution that uses less land and is cheaper to build than conventional cloverleafs.

Essentially, it briefly shifts traffic into opposite lanes using signals on bridges or underpasses so vehicles can turn left onto the highway without facing oncoming cars. Then, traffic is routed back to the right side of the road.

In March, engineers predicted the interchange would finish by the end of the year but now June is the expected date.

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