Elgin-O'Hare Expressway tolls start July 5
Driving on the Elgin-O'Hare will cost I-PASS users 20 cents per mile
With less than three weeks until the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway/Route 390 morphs from a freeway to a toll road, tollway leaders say they want to avoid the element of surprise for drivers July 5.
That's when electronic gantries collecting cashless tolls go live. I-PASS users will be charged up to $1.25 on the 6.5-mile stretch between Lake Street and I-290; cash-paying drivers will pay double.
At a customer service meeting Thursday, planners gave details of an outreach campaign to drivers.
"People are used to it being a free road, and transitioning into a toll road is going to lead to some level of consternation and angst," tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov said. "It is transitioning into a toll road but it is a better road. It's a road that doesn't have (traffic) lights."
The tollway is widening and rehabbing the existing expressway and constructing new ramps at the interchange with I-290 in place of traffic lights.
"To say it used to be a free road implies it is just the same exact road and we just elected to toll it, which isn't true. We're eliminating lights and moving traffic more efficiently," Bedalov said.
The second phase of the project out to Route 83 will finish in 2017, followed by a final segment to O'Hare International Airport. The new toll road will be built along Thorndale Avenue. Later, Route 390 will connect with a ring road on the west side of the airport linking to the Tri-State Tollway in Franklin Park and the Jane Addams Tollway in Des Plaines.
Toll rates for I-PASS users are 20 cents a mile compared to a 6-cent average on the rest of the system. Rates include 30 cents west of Gary Avenue, 35 cents near Roselle Road and 60 cents west of Meacham Road. The section to be complete in 2017 features tolls of 25 cents near Arlington Heights Road, 20 cents west of Wood Dale Road and 20 cents at Route 83. Higher rates will be charged for truckers.