Jul 28, 2014
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Tollway Gears Up for Long Holiday Weekend

Construction lane closures will be suspended during the holiday period, although the work-zone speed limit remains 45 mph. State police will be out in force, conducting roadside checks.

Tollway Gears Up for Long Holiday Weekend

The expects 7 million vehicles on the tollway system this Labor Day holiday from Friday through Tuesday. The tollway is suspending all temporary construction lane closures during the holiday weekend. In addition, Illinois State Police will provide heightened traffic enforcement, including roadside safety checks.

While construction lane closures are suspended, motorists should be aware of major traffic shifts in place in work zones, according to a press release from tollway organization. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep construction on schedule, but that won't impact traffic, tollway officials said. A 45 mph speed limit is in effect 24/7 in all construction zones, whether or not workers are present. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375.

The heaviest travel is expected Friday, when more than 1.6 million vehicles are projected to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the tollway.

Drivers will encounter construction at several locations, including:

I-294

  • The southbound I-294 ramp bridge to eastbound I-90 is closed for rehabilitation work. Southbound traffic is routed to I-190, exit at Mannheim Road south, re-enter via the I-190 eastbound entrance ramp, then merge with eastbound I-90.
  • Traffic is shifted to the left in both directions between Irving Park Road and Balmoral Avenue for construction of a new all-electronic exit ramp on the northbound Tri-State (I-294) to Balmoral.
  • Traffic on the South Tri-State (I-294) is shifted to the left in both directions near I-57 for the Illinois Department of Transportation reconstruction of the I-57 bridges over I-294.

I-90 (Jane Addams)

  • Traffic is shifted to the left in both directions between the Elgin Toll Plaza and Barrington Road for a roadway and bridge rehabilitation project.
  • Eastbound traffic between Genoa Road and Anthony Road and westbound traffic between U.S. Route 20 and Anthony Road is scheduled to be shifted out of the express lane split configuration before the holiday weekend, shifting the two lanes of traffic to the right lane and right shoulder in both directions.

Texting, Emailing Illegal

"Texting or emailing while driving is illegal and deadly. We remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road and avoid any distractions," said Kristi Lafleur, the tollway's executive director.

It is illegal to text or email at any time while driving on Illinois roads, and it is also illegal to use hand-held cell phones while driving in construction zones. In Illinois, data indicates that cell phone distractions, including texting, were the primary or secondary cause of 1,119 vehicle crashes in 2010.

"Drivers who need to send an email or text message should pull over to a safe location or visit a Tollway Oasis, where they can access free Wi-Fi, get something to eat and drink, fill their gas tanks and stretch their legs before getting back on the road," Lafleur said.

Troopers from Illinois State Police District 15 will initiate a Strategic Highway Safety Plan over the weekend focusing on four offenses linked to fatalities:

  • Speeding—the leading cause of all crashes.
  • DUI—nearly two out of every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash, with more than 40 percent resulting in a fatality.
  • Seatbelts—seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat occupants by 45 percent.
  • Distracted driving—driver inattention is a factor in more than 1 million crashes in America annually.

Troopers will conduct several roadside safety checks and special enforcement details concentrating on distracted drivers, including those who text while driving.


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