Source: Daily Herald
What’s different about my annual summary of large and annoying roadwork projects this year?
For the first time ever, I get to announce the debut of a significant construction project that will transform how we drive around the region.
That’s because, when it’s finally completed, the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway extension and western bypass won’t just offer a new route to the airport. It will provide a strategic new link from the Western suburbs to the south and north of O’Hare and triple the capacity of the current corridor to between 75,000 and 150,000 vehicles a day.
Not bad for a truncated road jokingly referred to as the IHOP (Itasca to Hanover Park) Expressway.
“Ultimately it’s going to give people the ability to have additional choices in their travel,” Illinois tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “Obviously, there will be western access to the airport, but the other untold story is additional access to the south of the airport and that’s a huge improvement.”
The project is just beginning the first leg of what is expected to be a 13-year construction journey. And, of course, the Elgin-O’Hare isn’t the only ingredient in this season’s roadwork stew. A massive widening of the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) starts in earnest, work on the first interchange between the Tri-State Tollway and I-57 in the South Suburbs continues and repairs to local arteries like Willow Road, Route 31 and Butterfield Road will keep us all irritable this summer.
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