The Illinois Tollway anticipates drivers will get a jump start on this season’s holiday travel on Friday, December 15, with more than 1.8 million vehicles expected on the Tollway system and more than 1.7 million vehicles traveling each day next week. On an average day, about 1.6 million vehicles use the Illinois Tollway.
While on the road this holiday season, drivers should be alert to any vehicle on the side of the road with emergency or hazard lights flashing. When approaching vehicles with flashing lights, drivers should slow down and change lanes safely.
“Our goal is simple. Let’s create safer roadways throughout Illinois – slow down, move over and Give Them Distance,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “Our drivers have a right to be safe when they are traveling and need to pull over in the case of an emergency, but they also need to remember to do their part as well and take precautions when flashing lights and another vehicle or workers on the side of the road come into view.”
The Illinois Tollway anticipates 1.2 million vehicles will travel on the Tollway system on Sunday, December 24, and nearly 1.3 million on Christmas Day. More than 1 million vehicles are expected on the Tollway system on Sunday, December 31, and New Year’s Day.
Spreading Holiday Cheer
In keeping with holiday tradition, 7-Eleven and McDonald’s are inviting motorists to stop at a Tollway oasis for a free small cup of coffee on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Des Plaines Oasis, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven
- Belvidere Oasis, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven and McDonald’s
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Lake Forest Oasis – 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven and McDonald’s
- O’Hare Oasis – 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. at McDonald’s and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven.
- Hinsdale Oasis – 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven and McDonald’s
- Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis – 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. at McDonald’s and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- DeKalb Oasis, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at 7-Eleven and McDonald’s
Need Help? Dial *999
Tollway customers can call *999 to get help from Tollway roadway maintenance crews or from Illinois State Police District 15. Tollway motorist aid patrols stand ready to help stranded customers change tires, jump-start batteries, add coolant, dispense fuel, transport customers, move vehicles away from traffic and call for a tow truck. The Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks will also be patrolling the Tollway system weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. District 15 troopers patrol the Tollway system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What’s Traffic Like?
All Temporary maintenance and construction lane closures will be suspended from noon on Friday, December 22, through 9 a.m. on Tuesday, December 26, and again from noon on Friday, December 29, through 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2. To prepare for trips short or long, drivers can check out Traveler Quick Links on the Tollway’s website to access real-time travel times and roadway incident information at Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 88, Tollway Trip 355, Tollway Trip 94/294 and Tollway Trip 390.
Transponder in Every Car
Keeping an I-PASS transponder in each vehicle and making sure it’s properly mounted will ensure successful toll payments on the 294-mile Tollway system and in other states that accept I-PASS, including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and 12 other states that are part of the E-ZPass network. Transponders can be shared between cars and motorcycles registered to the same I-PASS account, but the transponder must be properly mounted in your vehicle whenever you drive on the Tollway.
Building upon the recently deployed 70 mile fiber optic cable network, in early 2018 ITRCC will commence operation of an intelligent transportation system (ITS). The ITS will include numerous full color dynamic message signs (DMS) along the roadway. These DMS are capable of displaying safety messages that provide advanced warning to motorists of potential road hazards such as incidents, work zones and adverse weather conditions. The ITS also includes variable speed signs to reduce speeds and increase road safety in the event of such a hazard. In addition, a series of roadside cameras are included in the ITS, which, in conjunction with incident management software, is capable of detecting road incidents in real time. This system will provide support to both ITRCC and Indiana State first responders by decreasing response times and increasing overall road safety.
“The Intelligent Transportation System is being put into place to increase safety messaging to customers, reduce speeds during periods of inclement weather or road incidents, and allow for an increased level of traffic monitoring to improve ITRCC and first responder response times,” said Rick Fedder, Chief Operating Officer for ITR Concession Company. “All operational improvements are a means to continually drive road-safety throughout the corridor of the Indiana Toll Road.”
The Indiana State Police are also benefiting from the new ITS Systems by providing a new perspective to ITR Road safety and an increase in customer communications. “The Indiana State Police and ITRCC have worked together with a mutual goal of public safety. Implementing ITS is a great step to get important messages to every car that travels the Indiana Toll Road,” said Sgt. Ted Bohner, Indiana State Police.
Statewide crackdown on impaired drivers begins Friday, runs through New Year’s Day
To help deter impaired driving over the upcoming holiday period, state and local law enforcement throughout Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers and for additional hours as part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that begins Friday, December 15 and continues through New Year’s Day.
“Drivers impaired by alcohol, prescription medications or other drugs endanger everyone along our roadways,” said David Pabst, Director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) Bureau of Transportation Safety. “While law enforcement will make arrests and issue citations as necessary, the primary goal of these campaigns is to encourage voluntary compliance with laws designed to keep everyone safe.”
Along with statewide campaigns like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” WisDOT uses dedicated federal funds to help coordinate 24 OWI task forces across Wisconsin that combine multiple law enforcement agencies to conduct high-visibility enforcement efforts. Task force activities occur year-round, are typically announced ahead of time, and often involve roadside signage and vests on officers informing the public that intensified enforcement of impaired driving laws is underway.
WisDOT also offers a free Drive Sober mobile app which includes a blood alcohol estimator, designated driver selector, and find-a-ride feature that uses a smart phone’s GPS to locate alternative transportation. Since its launch in February 2013, over 73,760 people have accessed the app.
“To help ensure a safe, happy holiday season, we’re reminding all motorists to buckle up, drive at an appropriate speed, be patient, and be sober and alert behind the wheel.”
Keep Us Alive Drive 45 is our commitment to keep workers and motorists safe in work zones. Each year, many people are killed in construction zone accidents, both commuters and workers. Please abide the posted speed limit in work zones. When workers are present, it's 45 M.P.H. - It's The Law.
Join us in our pledge to increase awareness and promote safe driving in our work zones by displaying an orange ribbon. Together we can make our roadways a safer place to commute and work. With your help, we can see to it that a construction zone is not an end zone.