This is a press release from the Illinois Tollway.
What will you spy with your little eye on the Illinois Tollway this Labor Day holiday weekend? The world’s fastest wooden rollercoaster? One of the world’s largest stone quarries? One of the world’s busiest airports? There are many fun and interesting sights along the 286-mile Tollway system to be seen from the 6.7 million vehicles expected to travel the Tollway system this weekend.
“Labor Day is traditionally the last chance for families to hit the road in search of summer activities,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
“We want our customers to have fun keeping an eye out for some out-of-the-ordinary sights on the Tollway system, but we also encourage them to take their time, focus on the road and stay alert out there because we want them to arrive at their destinations safely.”
Out-of-the-ordinary sights along the Tollway:
- The Eagle rollercoaster at Six Flags Great America off the north Tri-State Tollway (I-94) in Gurnee. Built in 1981, it remains the world’s longest, tallest and fastest wooden racing rollercoaster.
- Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament on I-90 in Schaumburg. At 85,000 square feet, this castle is the largest of the nine Medieval Times’ castles in North America.
- The Des Plaines River under the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355). The longest stream in the Chicago region, the Des Plaines River flows 150 miles from southeast Wisconsin and meets up with the Kankakee River southwest of Joliet to form the Illinois River – a tributary to the Mississippi River.
- Thornton Quarry on the south Tri-State Tollway (I-294/I-80. One of the largest stone quarries in the world, the Thornton Quarry contains fossils of plants and animals from the Silurian Period 425 million years ago.
- Northern Illinois University on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb. Go see the Huskies football team defend its 2011 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship.
- The Chicago Botanic Garden near the Edens Spur (I-94) is one of the country's most visited public gardens and a preeminent center for learning and scientific research. The 385-acre Garden features 25 display gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes.
- O’Hare International Airport, which can be seen from the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90). There were a total of 878,798 flight take-offs and landings and nearly 67 million passengers that passed through the airport in 2011.
- Magic Waters Waterpark on I-90 in Cherry Valley. Tsunami Bay is the largest wave pool in Illinois, with 707,000 gallons of heated water.
The Illinois Tollway is expecting approximately 6.7 million vehicles will travel the Tollway system this Labor Day holiday from Friday, August 31, through Tuesday, September 4. The heaviest travel is anticipated on Friday, August 31, when nearly 1.7 million vehicles are projected to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway. “We also remind customers that construction is still in full swing, so drivers should prepare with the latest travel, construction and safety information before they begin their holiday trips,” said Lafleur. “And, while passengers should enjoy the sights along the way, we remind all drivers to stay focused on the road and ‘Drive Now. Text Later.’”
The Illinois Tollway is suspending all temporary construction lane closures from noon on Friday, Aug. 31, through 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 4. While temporary construction lane closures are suspended, motorists should be aware of major traffic shifts that are in place in construction work zones. Some work may continue behind barriers within existing work zones to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic. Major construction areas where drivers should plan for slower traffic during the holiday include:
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue, traffic shifts and shoulder closures are in place for pavement repairs and resurfacing. Traffic shifts are also in place over the Mile Long Bridge and the bridges at LaGrange Road, Archer Avenue, Salt Creek, 87th Street and Roberts Road for bridge repairs.
- On the northbound exit ramp to the westbound Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), one lane is closed for bridge work.
- Between I-57 and Kedzie Avenue, I-294 traffic in both directions is reduced to three lanes and shifted right for the reconstruction of the I-294 bridges over 147th Street.
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- Between Illinois Route 56 and Deerpath Road, traffic is shifted to the right in both directions for rebuilding and widening.
- Between the DeKalb Toll Plaza and Locust Road and between Mulford Road and Illinois Route 251, traffic is reduced to one lane in both directions for pavement grinding and asphalt paving.
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Between the South Beloit Toll Plaza and Rockton Road, traffic is reduced to two lanes in each direction for an Illinois Department of Transportation project between Rockton Road and the state line.
- Between Randall Road and Powers Road, between Sandwald Road and Harmony Road and between Genoa Road and the Kishwaukee River, westbound traffic is shifted to the right with a work zone on the left for a shoulder widening project. Between Harmony Road and Sandwald Road and between Johnson Road and Mosquito Creek in the eastbound direction, traffic is shifted to the right with a work zone on the left.
A 45 mph speed limit is 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. Getting Tollway Construction InformationThe Tollway offers a variety of ways for drivers to get the latest information, including:
- www.illinoistollway.com – Construction/Planning Section – for details by road
- 1-800-TOLL-FYI – Daily lane closure information
- www.travelmidwest.com – Real-time travel times
- Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway – www.nbcchicago.com
- eNewsletter – www.illinoistollway.com
Illinois State Police District 15 Out in Force
Illinois State Police District 15 will be out in force patrolling the Illinois Tollway system to keep drivers safe throughout the holiday weekend with an additional 45 Troopers on duty. District 15 Troopers will be participating in the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Labor Day crackdown to get impaired drivers off the road. Special enforcement teams and the District 15 motorcycle police will be focusing on the “fatal four” offenses: speeding, impaired driving, seat belt use and distracted driving. District 15 will also be using the Illinois State Police airplane to conduct air speed patrols, as well as conducting roadside safety checks.