Yes, I know it is the Jane Addams Tollway now.
Illinois’ dysfunctional Governor, Rod Blagojevich (a “D,” in case you missed that fact) got the credit for the name change, although Blagojevich Impeachment Committee Chair Barbara Flynn Currie sponsored the naming resolution. (I’d not the old name at least provided travelers directional information.)
And, that’s not all that is dysfunctional.
The tollway, on which the governor recently toyed on FBI tapes with expanding in order to shake down a highway contractor, isn’t working the way it should.
Or, maybe it is working the way it was intended.
I remember Governor Jim Thompson’s first tollway director was one of his state police body guards during the 1976 campaign. He did a marvelous job of tightening things up, getting rid of people who didn’t do anything. Stuff like that.
Thompson replaced him with his fund raiser.
In any event, here’s what U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s press release on Blagojevich’s arrest day said about the governor’s use of the tollway for fund raising purposes:
“…on October 6, Blagojevich told Individual A that he expected Highway Contractor 1 to raise $500,000 in contributions and that he was willing to commit additional state money to a Tollway project – beyond $1.8 billion that Blagojevich announced on October15 – but was waiting to see how much money the contractor raised for Friends of Blagojevich.”
We drove to the Wisconsin Dells the day after Christmas.
The fog was bad and the road beyond Madison was bumpy.
But the worst part of the trip was playing dodge the pothole, mainly in the McHenry County portion of the trip. (We got on the tollway at Route 20.)
With SUVs barreling along in the passing lane heedless to the menace of the fog caused by the warm temperatures on the snow-covered fields, my wife was jinking the car around like fighter plane under attack. (Well, maybe not that much.)
You can see the problem is widespread because there has been an attempt to patch large portions.
It appears that the entire upper layer of asphalt is peeling off, one pothole at a time.
We decided to eat lunch at the Belvidere Tollway Oasis.
I was surprised to find a booth over the road with three tollway employees. After checking out whether we had both I-PASS transponders registered to a current credit card, I told them how bad the westbound lanes were.
One thought it was because of the snowplowing. (On the way back we found potholes in the eastbound lane, but not nearly as many.)
I asked for a form upon which I could make a complaint about the potholes.
One woman asked the other two, but none had ever heard of such a piece of paper at this facility.
The tollway bosses were willing to arrange for us to pay tolls, but input of a negative persuasion apparently could not even make it to the wastepaper basket in Belvidere, let alone headquarters.
As I walked away, I noticed the Tollway’s new superman symbol.
There was no indication that he had the kind of cancers that affect the highway under his feet.
Let me speculate that the tollways road inspectors were inadequate when the road builder was laying down the most recent layer of asphalt.
I’ll ask the tollway folks who had the contract and then check out the campaign contributions before and after.
And, I’ll ask those of you who travel other Interstate highways in Illinois whether you have seen potholes like the one you see above.
I have not seen worse roads since the Village of Bull Valley‘s, which are truly better for cattle than cars.