Your questions answered: Potholes at the 'DMV,' and more
It's hard enough remembering the rule to parallel park within 12 inches of the curb for your driver's test or having to fork over $101 for a license renewal.
But when gaping potholes are landmining the driver's services facility parking lot in Elgin, that's too much to bear, reader Theresa Giovenco thinks.
"The entire area is an obstacle course of potholes and cracked roadway," she wrote.
Help is on the way, Theresa, as we'll explain in this week's column answering readers' questions on absent tollway ramps, left-lane truckers, O'Hare-gate and DMV potholes.
Giovenco of Bartlett was "shocked at the condition of the parking lot" when at the secretary of state location at routes 20 and 31 on May 17.
"Serious damage could be done to a car if you aren't careful. I mentioned it to the lady at the counter and she said, 'Everybody complains but nothing is ever done.'"
Fear not, secretary of state spokesman Dave Druker said. The parking lot, owned by the state's Department of Central Management Services, is scheduled to be repaired the week of June 4, as part of regular maintenance.
Next at bat is Jay Mooney of Naperville, a daily commuter on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) between the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) near Elmhurst and Town Line Road/Route 60 near Lake Forest.
He asks: "Do police intend on enforcing the restriction of trucks in the left two lanes on the Tri-State?
"Many other metro areas in the U.S. use markings in the lanes as 'trucks-only' as a clearer designation of the strategy. Meanwhile here in Chicago, I see trucks in the left two lanes daily. Our 'Trucks Right Two Lanes' signs are largely ignored," Mooney wrote.
Illinois State Police Sgt. Ryan Cape understands his concern. "I see that, too, when I am in my personal car," he said.
And troopers do cite truckers who violate the law. "If we see it, we enforce it," Cape said. There are exceptions, but in general, trucks should not be in the left lane on toll roads.
"Congestion's bad enough ... and the law is we have to allow motorists to travel in that left lane."
Shifting gears to aviation, one reader was curious about the debut of five American Airlines gates at O'Hare International Airport's Terminal 3, touted as the first additions in 25 years. The new gate facility is off the L concourse and dubbed the L Stinger.
"I don't believe these are the first new gates to open in the last 25 years. What about Gates F1, F3 and E1 in Terminal 2?" he asked. "All opened in the last couple of years."
Those four gates were added onto existing airport "linear frontage," Chicago Department of Aviation officials responded. The Stinger is new construction.
"Prior to the Stinger's commissioning, since 1993, there had been no new linear frontage built at O'Hare -- which is our measure for gate capacity. It allows us to account for space utilized differently based on different sized aircraft," a spokeswoman said.
And finally, John Datillo of Arlington Heights is curious if the Illinois tollway is planning to build a northbound on-ramp to the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) from Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont.
Tollway spokesman Dan Rozek said the agency "is not planning to build an entrance ramp from Balmoral Avenue onto the northbound Tri-State. There's not enough distance between Balmoral Avenue and the interchange with the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) and I-190 to safely add a northbound entrance ramp."
Why did a bearable commute on the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) between Cook and DuPage counties become unbearable recently at rush hour? For starters, road, bridge and ramp repairs are happening this year throughout the toll road. In addition, workers will resurface between Army Trail Road and I-55, and widen the road between Butterfield and Roosevelt roads to reduce chronic gridlock at peak times.
Just another manic Thursday
Flying to your summer vacation destination? Perhaps you should plan around these latest numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration. The busiest day in 2017 at O'Hare International Airport wasn't at Thanksgiving but in July, the FAA found. O'Hare was most crowded on Thursday, July 27, 2017, with 2,738 flight operations, followed by Thursday, June 29, with 2,733. In fact, Thursday turns out to be the most hectic day of the week, FAA number-crunchers reported. And, a 10-year average shows the airport gets the most flights in late July and early August.