Work ahead: Your guide to 2022 roadwork and where the traffic will be

  • A view south from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines.

      A view south from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A view north from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines.

      A view north from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A view south from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines.

      A view south from an Illinois tollway construction site northwest of O'Hare International Airport shows where workers are building ramps connecting the future I-490 with I-90 in Des Plaines. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Engineering consultant Pete Stukas talks about the I-490 toll road road project Thursday in Des Plaines. The project on O'Hare's western flank won't cause gridlock this year. But plenty others will.

      Engineering consultant Pete Stukas talks about the I-490 toll road road project Thursday in Des Plaines. The project on O'Hare's western flank won't cause gridlock this year. But plenty others will. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted5/2/2022 5:30 AM

As Illinois tollway crews dive into a radical new road, the Illinois Department of Transportation enters the final stretch of a marathon project that's outlasted two governors.

Welcome to the 2022 road building season.

 

"The busiest year in tollway history" is how interim Executive Director Lanyea Griffin last week described the agency's construction lineup.

The rising star on the tollway's roster is I-490, a road on O'Hare International Airport's western flank that will connect with the Jane Addams (I-90) and Tri-State (I-294) tollways to the north and south, and to Route 390 in the center.

But I-490 won't go live until 2025, with one segment to open in 2026. In the meantime, Central Tri-State drivers can expect more angst this spring and summer as a $4 billion reconstruction and widening chugs on.

The northern end of the project near O'Hare is finished. A southern segment between I-55 and 95th Street is almost there -- with the new southbound Mile Long Bridge opening later in 2022.

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"The overall traffic relief will come when that entire southbound section is opened. Right now we're targeting next year for that," Acting Chief Engineer Manar Nashif said.

Unique challenges wait in the middle section between I-55 and St. Charles Road. Workers are untangling and improving multiple I-294 interchanges with I-88 and I-290 as well as local arterials. One welcome change will be a southbound Tri-State exit ramp to County Line Road, allowing traffic to head north or south as well as access eastbound North Avenue, Nashif said.

And, fans of the glass Hinsdale Oasis should know that structure will be removed this year.

Switching to IDOT, the Jane Byrne Interchange "is slated for substantial completion of work by the end of this year," IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda said. "Work anticipated for 2023 includes Ida B. Wells Drive bridge painting and landscaping. That work should have minimal impacts to traffic."

The cost of the leviathan project, estimated at $535 million in 2013 under former Gov. Pat Quinn, now stands at $800 million.

Heading south to I-55, drivers will see delays as the interstate undergoes a facelift. IDOT crews will resurface pavement between Darien and the Joliet area and build two diverging diamond interchanges at Route 59 and Weber Road in Will County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The counterintuitive interchange uses traffic lights to guide vehicles temporarily into the left lanes to avoid making turns against oncoming vehicles.

One more thing

A line of massive concrete columns stood Thursday at the Touhy Avenue Reservoir near O'Hare, awaiting piers to support ramps that will link the future I-490 with the Jane Addams.

The Des Plaines location is complex, requiring columns to be buried as deep as 90 feet and parts of the roadway soaring nearly 100 feet above the reservoir, which handles airport runoff, engineers explained.

Despite those challenges, most of I-490 and an extension of Route 390 east to O'Hare is scheduled to open in 2025.

"It's going to significantly reduce congestion," Schaumburg Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said Tuesday after touring the work zone.

Instead of driving east on I-90 to go south on I-294 or reach O'Hare, drivers could opt for I-490 and save time and mileage, Krishnamoorthi noted. "I could see a tremendous drop-off in traffic going into that I-294 south ramp near the airport."

• • •

Other major regional roadwork includes:

Cook County

• Reconstruction on Lake-Cook Road between Raupp Boulevard and Hastings Drive in the Buffalo Grove area.

• Reconstruction of County Line Road between I-294 and North Avenue near Elmhurst.

• Resurfacing on Quentin Road between Route 14 and Lake-Cook Road in Palatine.

• Resurfacing on Central Road between New Wilke and Arlington Heights roads in Arlington Heights.

• Resurfacing on Roselle Road between Euclid Avenue and Baldwin Road, and between Wise and Higgins roads in the Schaumburg area.

• Resurfacing on Schaumburg Road between Meacham and Martingale roads in Schaumburg, and between Sutton Road and East Avenue in Streamwood.

• Resurfacing on Euclid Avenue between Roselle Road and Plum Grove Road in Rolling Meadows.

• Intersection improvements at Willow and Pfingsten roads in Glenview.

DuPage County

• Widening at the intersection of 87th Street and Woodward Avenue to add turn lanes in Woodridge.

• Resurfacing and improvements on 75th Street between Greene Road and Millbrook Drive in Naperville and Lisle.

• Resurfacing on Lemont Road between 83rd and 87th streets near Darien.

• Bridge replacement on Warrenville Road at the DuPage River East Branch in Lisle.

• Resurfacing on Geneva Road between County Farm Road and Western Avenue in the Wheaton area.

• Resurfacing Army Trail Road between 84th Court and Schmale Road in the Bloomingdale area.

• Resurfacing on Hobson Road between the DuPage River East Branch to Washington Street in the Naperville area.

• Bridge work on North Avenue at I-355 in Lombard.

Lake County

• Reconstruction, adding lanes at Gilmer and Midlothian roads in Hawthorn Woods.

• Resurfacing and bridge construction on Hart Road between Lake-Cook Road and Route 14 near Lake Barrington.

• Resurfacing on Deep Lake Road between Route 132 and Route 173 in the Lake Villa area.

• Intersection improvements at Hunt Club Road and Washington Street in the Grayslake area.

• Resurfacing on Hawley Street between Route 176 and Midlothian Road in the Mundelein area.

• Intersection improvements at Ela and Long Grove roads in Deer Park.

Fox Valley

• Resurfacing on Randall Road from County Line Road to Harnish Drive in Algonquin.

• Intersection reconstruction and improvements at Orchard Road and Route 30 near Montgomery.

• Roundabout construction at Bliss Road/Fabyan Parkway/Main Street in Batavia.

• Resurfacing on Route 19 between Routes 25 and 59 in the Elgin area.

• Resurfacing on Route 14 between Crystal Lake Avenue and Pingree Road in Crystal Lake.

• Constructing Longmeadow Parkway between Sandbloom/William Road east to Route 25 in Kane County. The massive local endeavor "is targeting completion in 2023," Kane County Assistant Transportation Director Steve Coffinbarger said.

Source: IDOT, Illinois tollway, county highway departments

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