Illinois Tollway Gets Ok for Elgin-O’Hare Expansion

Construction of Elgin O’Hare Western Access Expansion means the roadway will actually go to O’Hare someday and will improve access from the suburbs to the airport.


The Elgin-O’Hare Expressway has always perplexed people since the road doesn’t go anywhere near O’Hare International Airport.

But that will change with the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project.

The Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation received word Wednesday that a plan to expand the expressway has been approved by the federal agencies, according to a release.

Those federal agencies issued a Record of Decision, the final step in the federal review of the project’s environmental impact, for the $3.4 billion project. It is part of the Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

“This critical step towards construction of the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project is a testament to the strong regional and bipartisan consensus we built for this project,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “This historic project will put thousands of Illinois men and women to work improving our infrastructure while driving economic growth across the region.”

The Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project will include construction of a new, all-electronic toll road around the western border of O'Hare International Airport linking the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), the extension of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway east along Thorndale Avenue to O'Hare and the rehabilitation and widening of the existing Elgin-O'Hare Expressway. The project is also expected to create as many as 65,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2040 when combined with completion of the western terminal at O’Hare Airport.

“With this major milestone, Illinois is finally positioned to implement this long-planned project, setting the stage for economic growth for decades to come,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Today's signing is a significant step toward better transportation options for residents and businesses in the communities surrounding O’Hare Airport.”

The Tollway is tentatively planning to spend $95.6 million in 2013 for work on the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project. The actual location and schedule of construction will be dependent on land acquisition, permits, agreements and utility relocations.


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