President's Corner

January 2018 Building Opportunities for the Next Generation

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TOLLWAY MOVES FORWARD ON $3-$4 BILLION WESTERN ACCESS PROJECT

Today, the Illinois Tollway announced that it was seeking bids for more than $135 million worth of planning, design, and construction services on various roadways. This is not the first such request for bids from the Tollway this year, but one particular item makes this one unique– major funding to plan a Western Access to the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway from O’Hare International Airport.

The $3.4 billion project has been discussed for years, but recent debate over the construction of a western terminal within the airport threw the planned roadway into jeopardy. Today’s commitment strengthens the Tollway’s promise to include this road in its 15-year, $12 billion capital plan. 

“What makes this capital plan so beneficial to commuters and workers is that it not only maintains existing roads, but constructs brand new ones where demand is high,” said President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney, who serves as a Director for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the board that oversees the Tollway.

“This move makes it possible to get construction on the project underway as soon as 2013, and we expect construction to take 10 years to complete, so this is truly a major addition to the Tollway,” said Sweeney.

One of the other new roads being examined by the Tollway is the northern extension of Route 53, which would intersect with a widened Route 120. This is a total of around 26 miles of new road at a cost above $2 billion. While the board has repeatedly voted to support this project, it is still working to secure funding.

The Illinois Tollway’s capital plan will modernize roads that fall entirely within Local 150’s jurisdiction, and the Tollway was one of the first public agencies in Illinois to implement a project labor agreement, which guarantees union construction in exchange for labor peace.



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