Glass O'Hare oasis on Tri-State coming down in late 2018

Better savor that latte and broccoli beef now. Later this year, the glass-framed O'Hare oasis on the Tri-State will become the second Illinois tollway rest-stop to disappear.

Officials this month should finalize a settlement agreement with the lease holders of the oasis prior to demolishing it. The agency is widening the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and needs to remove the glass pavilion over the eight lanes to accommodate more.

The gas stations and 7-Eleven shops are expected to remain in place, officials said at a Thursday finance committee meeting.

The tollway also intends to take down the Hinsdale oasis' glass pavilion to make way for Tri-State improvements later; the village of Hinsdale had objected to the move because it would mean significant losses in sales tax.

Chief Engineer Paul Kovacs said the tollway was working with the village of Schiller Park, where the O'Hare Oasis is located, on options for commercial development.

The tollway demolished the Des Plaines oasis pavilion in 2014 when it widened the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) but kept the gas stations and convenience stores.

That project cost $4.8 million to remove the structure and improve parking. The tollway also paid leaseholder SFI Chicago Tollway LLC $9.3 million for termination costs.

Removing the glass and support beams over an active toll road is an intricate job.

With the Des Plaines oasis, workers used a thick mesh curtain intended to prevent debris from landing on the Jane Addams.

"The Tri-State carries more traffic than I-90 but it's all the same level of difficulty," Kovacs said.

The glass will be removed from the inside of the structure and officials now say all lanes will stay open during the process, which will likely occur in off-peak hours.

The O'Hare oasis, like the one in Des Plaines, was built in the 1950s and became a destination point for travelers with a popular Fred Harvey restaurant. Now its retailers include Panda Express, McDonald's, Starbucks, Travel Mart, Auntie Anne's pretzels and others.

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