By Jen DeSalvo, WLS-AM 890 Traffic
(CHICAGO) The Eisenhower, an arterial expressway that runs east-west along Interstate I-290 from DuPage County into downtown Chicago, needs a face-lift, and the state is asking for input from the people who use the accessway on a daily basis.
The stretch was originally called the “Congress Expressway” when it opened in the 1950’s. It followed the path of the CTA Garfield Park rapid transit branch and connected I-90 in the Schaumburg area to I-90 in downtown Chicago by swinging around the city limits on the west side.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) said that the area in question is 38 percent over capacity, resulting in the highest travel times of any of the five major Chicago expressways during the morning and afternoon weekday rush periods. This has prohibited access to employment, caused modal connection concerns and created safety issues. These points are just a few reasons for the need of modifications on the Eisenhower.
Peak period travel speeds, as stated by the report, are estimated to be as low as 24 miles per hour in 2010, with projections to slow down by half, doubling travel time, by 2040 is nothing is done. Currently, the Eisenhower Expressway carries 185,100 to 217,700 automobiles daily, but it was only designed to hold 138,000 vehicles.
As far as safety concerns, IDOT alongside the Illinois State Police reported that from 2011-2013, a total of 5,365 crashes and 711 injuries were reported along I-290. That is an average of 1,788 crashes and 237 injuries per year.
HOV and HOT lanes are proposed as a means to help alleviate travel times and accident rates. HOV meaning “high-occupancy vehicle lane” which will cater to carpool vehicles carrying three or more persons. HOT being “high-occupancy toll” lanes which will potentially be different prices based on vehicle size, persons in car and time of the day.
According to EisenhowerExpressway.com, public hearings are to be held January 25th and 26th, 2017 on the I-290 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). This document was made public for comment on December 30, 2017.
Submit your comments to the Eisenhower Expressway commission between December 30, 2016 and February 13, 2017 via this comment form.