Illinois Tollway Prepares for 17.6 Million Vehicles this Holiday Season

| December 18, 2013


Tollway offers access to holiday lights, free coffee on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Holiday revelers looking to make the season a little brighter will find the Illinois Tollway offers convenient access to some of the region’s biggest holiday light displays – viewable off the Tollway system from the comfort of their vehicles. Or, for those leaving town or just passing through, the Tollway will suspend construction and even offer a free late-night cup of coffee at Tollway oases to make travel easier.

Tollway customers can enjoy regional holiday light shows that include:

  • ·        Aurora Festival of Lights, one of the largest free outdoor light displays in Northern Illinois; from the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), exit at Farnsworth Avenue.
  • ·        Illumination at The Morton Arboretum, an interactive light experience that lets you “see trees in a different light”; from westbound I-88 exit at Illinois Route 53 and from eastbound I-88 exit at Naperville Road.
  • ·        Clearbrook Wonderland of Lights, where motorists can cruise through what’s dubbed the “World’s Largest Light Tunnel” at the Arlington International Racecourse; the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) offers access via north Illinois Route 53.
  • ·        Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show held on the grounds of Loyola University Chicago’s Cuneo Mansion and Gardens in Vernon Hills; from the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294), exit at Townline Road (Illinois Route 60).
  • ·        Holiday Magical Light Show at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect; from northbound I-294 exit at Dempster Street and from southbound I-294 exit at Willow Road.
  • ·        Symphony in Lights presented by The Promenade Bolingbrook features 250,000 lights illuminated to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra; off the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), take the Boughton Road exit.

The Illinois Tollway expects 17.6 million vehicles will use the Tollway system between Friday, December 20, and Thursday, January 2, 2012, to travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The heaviest travel is anticipated on Friday, December 20, when the Tollway expects nearly 1.6 million vehicles to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway.

“The Illinois Tollway wishes all our customers safe, smooth driving this holiday season,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “As part of our annual tradition, the Tollway oases will provide late-night drivers a free cup of coffee on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.”

Travelers can get a complimentary cup of coffee at 7-Eleven stores and McDonald’s restaurants located at Illinois Tollway oases. Complimentary coffee will be served on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at the following times and locations:

Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)

  • ·        Des Plaines Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • ·        Belvidere Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)

  • ·        Lake Forest Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • ·        O’Hare Oasis (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • ·        Hinsdale Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • ·        Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.)


Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)

  • ·        DeKalb Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)


The Tollway oases cater to more than 12 million annual visitors and provide access to retail shops, restaurants, spacious food courts, ample seating featuring panoramic windows, kid-friendly spaces and a spot for talking and texting, cellular and Wi-Fi services.


Lane Closures Suspended

To accommodate increased holiday travel, the Tollway will suspend all temporary maintenance and construction lane closures from noon on Tuesday, December 24, until 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 26, and from noon on Tuesday, December 31, until 9 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2013. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic.


Areas where work zones will continue during the holiday include:


Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)

  • Between I-57 and Kedzie Avenue, traffic in both directions is reduced to three lanes and shifted right for construction of the new I-294/I-57 Interchange.


Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)

  • Between I-39 in Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza, construction is continuing and a work zone speed limit remains in place.
  • Westbound traffic between Irene Road near Belvidere and I-39 is currently reduced from two lanes to one lane and an alternate route is posted.
  • At the Marengo Toll Plaza, eastbound traffic is shifted to the right and reduced to one open road tolling lane; an I-PASS Only lane is available in the cash plaza for I-PASS users.
  • ·        Between Randall Road and the Elgin Toll Plaza, traffic is shifted to the right and reduced to two lanes. Traffic entering eastbound I-90 from Randall Road must merge with mainline I-90 traffic.


Work zone speed limits are in effect 24/7 in all construction zones where lanes are reduced, shifted or traffic is traveling on a shoulder, whether or not workers are present. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375.


Tollway Travel Tips

The Illinois Tollway offers the following tips to enhance travel on our roadways:

  • ·        Know Before You Go – Get the latest travel information, including:

o – Construction/Planning section and Tollway Trip Calculator and real-time roadway incident information

o   1-800-TOLL-FYI – Daily lane closure information

o – Real-time travel times

o – Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway

o – Latest traffic conditions

o – Real-time roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355 and Tollway Trip 94/294



  • ·        Need Help?  Dial *999 – If your vehicle becomes disabled, park safely on the shoulder, raise your hood and remain in your vehicle.  Dial *999 and assistance will be dispatched to your location 

Illinois State Police District 15 Out in Force

The Illinois State Police District 15 will be out in full force throughout the Illinois Tollway system during the holidays. The goals of the Illinois State Police District 15 are to decrease traffic fatalities and serious personal injury accidents through high visibility and the enforcement of all traffic laws.

District 15 will be conducting special traffic details that focus on the fatal four offenses that include speeding, driving under the influence, seatbelts and distracted driving.

In addition, with the assistance of Tollway maintenance crews, District 15 will be patrolling the roadways to locate stranded and disabled motorist to assist them in reaching their holiday destinations safely.

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).

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