The Illinois Tollway recommends drivers defer all non-essential travel today, if possible, because rapid, heavy snowfall combined with winds are expected to cause blowing and drifting snow that could significantly reduce visibility making driving hazardous, according to an Illinois Tollway press release.
The Tollway’s Snow Operations Center opened this morning to manage the agency’s systemwide response.
“Facing such difficult conditions, the Tollway is urging its customers to avoid driving, if possible,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in the news release. “For those who must travel, we are asking that you slow down, drive defensively and allow plenty of extra travel time. We also remind motorists that using a hand-held cellphone while driving is illegal in Illinois."
To respond to this weather event, the tollway will have a full complement of more than 200 staff and supervisors per shift to ensure that roadways are kept clear of snow.
Snowplows often work in tandem to remove as much slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once. They travel at a speed of approximately 30 to 35 miles per hour, so traffic delays should be expected. When it is safe to pass, the plows spread out and allow traffic to flow around them.
The Tollway also reminds drivers that the "Move Over" Law, formerly called "Scott's Law," requires drivers to move over a lane if there is an emergency vehicle stopped on or along the roadway with lights flashing. The law, which has been in effect since 2002, protects police officers, firefighters and maintenance workers while they are assisting others. Drivers also are urged to slow down and proceed with caution around all emergency vehicles.
Travelers who want to take a break from the snow or simply warm up can stop at any of the Tollway’s seven oases, which are open 24 hours a day.
The oases provide a variety of food, beverage and retail offerings, as well as Mobil fuel stations. On the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), there are four oases: Lake Forest, O’Hare, Hinsdale and Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland. There are two oases on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere and Des Plaines and one on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb.
Travel Tips for Winter WeatherThe Tollway offers the following tips for use during winter weather events:
- Slow down and leave enough time to reach your destination.
- Do not make sudden lane changes and always use your turn signal.
- Don’t follow too closely and increase your intervals between vehicles.
- Reduce speed in cash lanes at toll plazas.
- Remember to always wear your safety belt and ensure children under the age of 8 are securely restrained in child safety seats.
- Don’t text or use a hand-held cellphone while driving. Both are illegal.
- Need Help? Dial *999. If your vehicle becomes disabled, park safely on the shoulder, raise your hood and remain in your vehicle. Dial *999 and assistance will be dispatched to your location.
Know Before You GoThe Tollway offers the following ways for drivers to get the latest travel information before they get on the road:
- Illinois Tollway website: Construction/Planning section and Tollway Trip Calculator and real-time roadway incident information
- 1-800-TOLL-FYI – Daily lane closure and travel information (updated every two hours or as conditions require during winter storms)
- Travel Midwest website: Real-time travel times
- NBC Chicago website: Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway
- Twitter: Real-time roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355 and Tollway Trip 94/294