Professional engineer named as interim tollway CEO

  • Interim tollway Executive Director Lanyea Griffin

    Interim tollway Executive Director Lanyea Griffin Courtesy Illinois Tollway

  • The Illinois tollway on Tuesday chose a professional engineer, who has worked at the agency for nearly nine years, as interim executive director.

    The Illinois tollway on Tuesday chose a professional engineer, who has worked at the agency for nearly nine years, as interim executive director. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 3/23/2022 6:18 AM

The Illinois tollway named a professional engineer who has headed up the Central Tri-State expansion as interim executive director, officials announced Tuesday.

Lanyea Griffin, tollway deputy chief of program implementation, will begin her new job April 1 and replaces José Alvarez, who resigned from the agency last week.


Griffin is also executive project engineer for the Tri-State (I-294) reconstruction and widening project.

"I'm honored to be recognized for my work here at the agency and for having the opportunity to have a greater impact not only on the tollway's engineering efforts, but also on all the other aspects of the tollway -- supporting the staff that works hard every day to serve our customers and create economic opportunities for communities and small and minority businesses throughout northern Illinois," Griffin said in a statement.

Prior to joining the tollway in 2013, Griffin worked in the private sector as well as for the village of Maywood as an engineer for over a decade.

The move comes as the agency enters a busy year in its reconstruction of the Central Tri-State and forges ahead with building a ring road on the west side of O'Hare International Airport (I-490).

Officials are hoping to put a period on a turbulent two years at the agency that included Senate scrutiny over procurement problems and friction between the former CEO and previous chairman Will Evans who stepped down Feb. 18.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed banker Dorothy Abreu of Wilmette to be board chairman last month.

"At this time, it is important for the agency's leadership to be in tune with the agency's critical work, and Lanyea is one of the best and brightest the tollway has to offer," Abreu said in a statement. "She's dedicated to serving our customers and to maximizing our investments in our regional infrastructure."

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It's the first time since June 2015 when Chairwoman Paula Wolff and Executive Director Kristi Lafleur were at the agency that two women have led the tollway.

Griffin handled design for the eastern section of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway widening project that wrapped up in 2017.

She also managed construction of the first phase of the I-294 and I-57 interchange near Harvey.

Griffin, a Chicago resident, has a bachelor's degree in civil/environmental engineering from Northwestern University. She previously served as a civil engineer with the U.S. Air Force National Guard.

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