You may have read my Friday piece about coming home from the Rockford trial of Greg Pyle, a former McHenry County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant.
I decided to take the Tollway from Route 20 to the new Tollway exit at Route 47 in Huntley. It wasn’t open yet, I guess, because the official dedication was at 2 PM.
The Tollway put out a press release, but didn’t mention that Governor Pat Quinn’s Board members had raised tolls 88% to finance it. You can read it below:
ILLINOIS TOLLWAY OPENS NEW FULL-ACCESS INTERCHANGE IN HUNTLEY
First Move Illinois project completed on time and under budget; 390 jobs created
DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway today opened the new full-access, all-electronic interchange at Illinois Route 47 on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Huntley.
The new interchange is the first project to be completed as part of the Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, and cost $59 million – $2 million under budget.
An estimated 390 jobs were created as part of the interchange project, which was completed in just 17 months.
“At a time when other states are talking about the need for transportation investments, Illinois is leading, building and completing significant new construction projects with regional benefits and creating good-paying jobs,” said Governor Pat Quinn. [Quinn did not attend the dedication.] “This new interchange project will improve the quality of life for residents, increase opportunities for business and commerce and do so while protecting the environment.”
“The new interchange demonstrates the values of Illinois – our commitment to smart transportation planning, our capacity to innovate and our dedication to protecting the environment by building ‘clean and green,’” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
“It also sets the stage for continued economic development and job growth along the Illinois Route 47 corridor and beyond.”
The interchange at Illinois Route 47 on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) is the first “green” interchange on the Tollway system, featuring several new environmentally friendly construction initiatives used by the Tollway for the first time, including:
- A geothermal water piping system that makes use of the earth’s natural heating and cooling abilities to help heat and cool nearby plaza buildings in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.
- Reflective roofs and trellised vegetation for plaza buildings to further reduce heating and cooling costs.
- Permeable pavement asphalt mixture on ramp shoulders that allow water to seep through and reduce storm water runoff.
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) ramp lighting to help reduce energy consumption and maintenance when compared to conventional high-pressure sodium lighting.
- Bioswale and infiltration cells in infield detention basins to protect wetlands west of the project.
To formally open the interchange to traffic, the Tollway hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today with the Illinois Department of Transportation, elected officials from the
- Village of Huntley
- Kane County
- McHenry County
as well as local business leaders and construction professionals who worked on the project.
The first vehicles to drive on the new ramps to and from Rockford included trucks from
- Dean Foods Co., a national food and beverage company with roots in Huntley
- Tom Peck Ford of Huntley, the first dealership to anchor Huntley’s auto mall
- LionHeart, a firm specializing in providing field services for generators and uninterruptible power services that recently relocated its business operations to Huntley.
“The full interchange was decades in the making and involved the tireless efforts of many people,” said Huntley Mayor Charles Sass. “This commitment has set the stage for attracting more development and creating jobs.”
“We are excited about the completion of this important project and the many benefits it will bring to the Illinois Route 47 corridor,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “The interchange will provide connectivity, as well as safe and efficient travel for motorists in the area.”
Construction included six new ramps to complete an existing partial interchange that provides access to and from the east and reconstruction and widening of 1.5 miles of Illinois Route 47 over I-90 to provide a full-access interchange.
The previous ramps only provide access for drivers traveling to and from the east on I-90. These ramps were constructed in the early 1970s.
The new interchange opens up direct access to and from Huntley, as well as to Illinois Route 47, a significant regional north-south transportation route extending from the Wisconsin border into central Illinois.
According to a study commissioned by the Village of Huntley, the new interchange is estimated to create nearly 12,000 retail, office and light industrial jobs in the region by 2030.
Recognizing the need for the project, regional collaboration led to a first-of-its-kind agreement between the Village of Huntley, Kane and McHenry counties, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway to pool resources in an innovative way and fund the project.
Consistent with the Tollway’s Interchange and Roadway Cost Sharing Policy requiring local communities to fund half of the cost of interchange improvements, the Tollway financed half of the cost, with IDOT contributing approximately 25 percent and the remainder funded by the Village of Huntley, Kane and McHenry counties.
“This project is a model of good government and cooperation on infrastructure development that has been years in the making and will provide benefits to Northern Illinois for years to come,” said state Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake).
“This is a smart investment that immediately improves the quality of living and working in Kane County and allows for increased connectedness between our communities,” said Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen.
The Illinois Route 47 Interchange is one of three all-electronic interchanges currently on the Illinois Tollway system.
The Illinois Tollway operates the nation’s largest electronic tolling system, with more than 86 percent of all toll transactions paid electronically through I-PASS or E-ZPass. I-PASS customers experience faster, safer and more convenient commutes and save time and money.
Toll rates at the Illinois Route 47 Interchange will be 30 cents to and from the east and 45 cents to and from the west. Truck rates will range from 60 cents to $1.50 to and from the east and 95 cents to $2.50 to and from the west during daytime hours, with overnight discounts offered.
Tollway customers driving through an all-electronic interchange without an I-PASS have a 7-day grace period to pay the toll online or by mail.
About Move Illinois
The Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, will improve mobility, relieve congestion, reduce pollution, create as many as 120,000 jobs and link economies across the Midwest region. Move Illinois will address the remaining needs of the existing Tollway system; rebuild and widen the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor; construct a new interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57; build a new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access and fund planning studies for the Illinois Route 53/120 Project and the Illiana Expressway.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).