Illinois Tollway prepares for 8.3 million vehicles traveling for the Thanksgiving Holiday

| November 24, 2014



Tollway customers can get in holiday spirit donating to Toys for Tots, Warm Our Heroes; visiting Santa

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Illinois Tollway customers motoring their way to grandma’s house for the annual Thanksgiving feast or to area malls for holiday shopping bargains are invited to stop at conveniently located Tollway oases along the way to donate a new, unwrapped toy for needy area children as part of the annual Toys for Tots campaign or winter clothing for Illinois veterans and their families as part of Governor Pat Quinn’s Warm Our Heroes initiative. And, the Illinois Tollway will suspend construction lane closures to clear the way for the 8.3 million vehicles expected to travel on the 286-mile system for this Thanksgiving holiday.

“We want our customers to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, so we encourage them to avoid distractions and stay alert while driving,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “At the same time, we encourage drivers to stop for a few minutes to make the season brighter for those less-fortunate by donating to Toys for Tots and Warm Our Heroes.”

The Illinois Tollway anticipates approximately 8.3 million vehicles will travel the Tollway system this Thanksgiving holiday from Wednesday, November 26, throughMonday, December 1. The most popular travel day is expected on Wednesday, November 26, when 1.7 million vehicles are projected to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway.

The Illinois Tollway, in partnership with CBRE | U.S. Equities, will collect donations benefiting Toys for Tots this holiday season at each of six oases along the Tollway system. Drivers can drop off toys in specially marked donation boxes at Tollway oases through December 11. Tollway customers can also help Illinois service members and their families by donating warm winter clothing, including new or gently used scarves, hats, gloves, shoes, coats, stocking caps, ear warmers and socks.

“The gift drop locations at the Illinois Tollway oases make it possible for the thousands of people traveling this holiday season to make a difference in a child’s life,” said Cindy O’Drobinak, senior director at CBRE. “Just as the oases offer a variety of convenient travel services for Tollway customers, we’ve made it convenient for drivers to drop off an unwrapped gift during their daily travels.”

Toys for Tots, a 67-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to disadvantaged children during each Christmas holiday season. The toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community. Last year, the Marine Corps fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 6.8 million less fortunate children in 762 communities nationwide. Since 1947, more than 223 million children have been assisted. For more information, visit

Boxes for Toys for Tots and Warm Our Heroes donations will be located in the center area of each oasis, including:

  • Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) – Belvidere Oasis
  • Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) – Lake Forest Oasis, O’Hare Oasis, Hinsdale Oasis and Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis
  • Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) – DeKalb Oasis

In addition, Tollway customers are invited to visit one of four Illinois Tollway oases this holiday season to meet and take pictures with Santa Claus.

Upcoming Santa appearances take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include:

  • Sunday, November 30 – O’Hare Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)
  • Sunday, December 7 – Hinsdale Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)
  • Saturday, December 13 – Lake Forest Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94)
  • Sunday, December 21 – Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294/I-80)

Tollway oases offer a variety of services for travelers, including food and beverage options, resting areas and Wi-Fi capabilities. The 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 Thanksgiving holiday travel, the Illinois Tollway is restricting construction activity and suspending all temporary construction lane closures over the long holiday weekend to better serve customers. All temporary maintenance and construction lane closures will be suspended from noon on Wednesday, November 26, through 9 a.m. on Monday, December 1. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact 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.

Areas where work zones will continue during the holiday include:

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

  • Between the Bishop Ford Freeway and Halsted Street, traffic is shifted for bridge repairs.

Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)

  • Between the Kennedy Expressway and I-294, westbound traffic is shifted onto the eastbound side of the road and reduced from three lanes to two lanes for roadway reconstruction.
  • Between I-294 and Illinois Route 25, three lanes of traffic are available in both directions, but traffic is shifted at various points to provide construction work zones.
  • At the Marengo Toll Plaza, eastbound traffic is shifted to the left and reduced to one open road tolling lane; an I-PASS Only lane is available in the cash plaza for I-PASS users.
  • Between Mill Street and the Kishwaukee River Bridge, traffic is reduced to two lanes in both directions for construction.

Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project – Illinois Route 390

  • Between Meacham Road/Medinah Road and Rohlwing Road, traffic in both directions is shifted at various points.
  • At Irving Park Road, the ramp carrying traffic from Irving Park Road to eastbound Illinois Route 390 is closed and traffic is detoured.

Tollway Travel Tips

  • The Tollway offers the following ways for drivers to get the latest travel information before they get on the road:
  • 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.
  • – Construction/Planning section, Tollway Trip Calculator, live roadway images and real-time roadway incident information
  • 1-800-TOLL-FYI – Daily lane closure and travel information
  • – Real-time travel times
  • – Real-time roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355 and Tollway Trip 94/294

Illinois State Police District 15 Out in Force

Illinois State Police will be out in full force during the Thanksgiving holiday week to continue to safeguard the public by strictly enforcing traffic violations related to DUI, speeding, distracted driving and commercial motor vehicles.

“District 15 will have additional officers on patrol and conducting special enforcement details focusing on speed, distracted driving and alcohol related offenses, in an effort to reduce traffic accidents and prevent fatalities,” said District 15 Commander Patrick Kimes.

About CBRE Group Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2013 revenue). The Company has approximately 44,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through approximately 350 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at

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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