The Eisenhower Expressway will be getting a makeover, and the project could include shared car pool and express toll lanes. Illinois Department of Transportation officials presented an update to the Eisenhower reconstruction project on Wednesday during a meeting of the I-290 Corridor Advisory Group.
IDOT’s preferred option for the Ike includes adding a fourth lane in both directions between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, and replacing the two center lanes between Racine Avenue and Interstate 88 with high occupancy toll lanes. According IDOT, the so called “Hot 3+” lanes would utilize a road pricing scheme that allows lower occupancy vehicles (also known as regular traffic) to access express lanes designated for buses and car pool vehicles by paying a toll. Buses and vehicles with three or more occupants would be able to use the “Hot 3+” lanes at no cost.
“The idea is to set a toll rate so you have a [minimum] 45 mile-per-hour speed through there, so that is then a reliable trip,” Pete Harmet of IDOT told the Chicago Tribune. “As we know, there's days when the Eisenhower is quite unreliable."
Specific details of the “Hot 3+” proposal, such as how the toll would be assessed, have not been worked out, but IDOT said it could cost drivers between 12 and 25 cents per mile.
The project is still in the planning phase, but IDOT is expected to release an environmental impact study on Dec. 30, followed by a 45-day comment period. Two public hearings are also scheduled for next month: at Proviso Math & Science Academy on January 25 and at the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC on January 26. Both hearings will be held from 5:30 to 8:30pm.
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