Illinois Tollway reaches agreement with Chicago for $3.4 billion Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, announces February contracts

Image from Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors says a key agreement has been reached with the City of Chicago necessary to construct the new Interstate 490 Tollway and complete the $3.4 billion Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project investment in the region’s transportation infrastructure.

The agreement approved during the February Board meeting positions the tollway to build and operate a completely new roadway in the shadow of one of the nation’s largest airports, guiding the design efforts and providing land access needed for completion, the agency said in a Feb. 18 statement.

“My administration is proud to mark yet another milestone in enhancing transportation in the Chicago metropolitan region, paving the way for additional access to O’Hare,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said. “When complete, this project will enhance access for countless Illinoisans to not only one of the world’s busiest airports, but additional highways, transit centers, businesses and communities throughout the region. I thank our City of Chicago partners for working alongside the Illinois Tollway to see this project through.”

As a result of the recent agreements with the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific railroads needed for the new I-490 Tollway to cross the Canadian Pacific Railway Bensenville Intermodal Yard, the final design required additional negotiations with the City of Chicago.

This agreement provides additional land, while defining a process by which the design of the southern portion of the new road will be managed and coordinated in complete cooperation with the Chicago Department of Aviation, which owns and operates O’Hare International Airport on behalf of the City of Chicago.

“The amended agreement with the Illinois Tollway, which I will introduce to City Council next week, provides a clear path forward toward the jobs, minority contracting opportunities, and improved airport access offered by the I-490 plan,” Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said. “I thank Commissioner Rhee and her staff for their stewardship in making these negotiations possible, as well as Executive Director Alvarez and the entire tollway team for their continued partnership in the years ahead.”

“Currently, this portion of the new I-490 Tollway is still under design, and the agreement provides the Illinois Tollway with a clear framework for the land and construction parameters that are necessary to ensure the continuity of the critical transportation network that operates in the area,” the statement says.

“A final design is expected later this year, with additional details presented to the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Local Corridor Advisory Committee, as well as local and regional stakeholders, and the public at large this summer.”

“The level of partnership required between the tollway, City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Aviation and the railroads to achieve our mutual goals on this complex project cannot be understated,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez said. “I’d like to thank Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Commissioner Rhee and her entire team, and reiterate our thanks to the railroad leadership, as well as local, state and federal stakeholders for their continued support.”

Also, during the February Board meeting, the Illinois Tollway approved 11 construction and engineering contracts totaling nearly $76 million including three firms stepping up to be first-time primes with the tollway.

February construction contracts awarded include:
  • A $30.9 million contract to Plote Construction Inc./Peter Baker & Sons & Co., Hoffman Estates, IL, for pavement rehabilitation, on the North Tri-State Tollway (I-94) between Half Day Road and Atkinson Road.
  • A $17.3 million contract to Plote Construction Inc., Hoffman Estates, Illinois, for pavement and shoulder rehabilitation on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) between Flagg Creek and Cermak Road.
  • A $9.3 million contract to Lorig Construction Co., Des Plaines, Illinois, for roadway and bridge construction on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) at the new 88th/Cork Avenue Interchange.
  • A $2.6 million contract to Path Construction Company Inc., Arlington Heights, Illinois, for structural rehabilitation work on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.
  • A $1.8 million contract to Areatha Construction Co. Inc., Streamwood, Illinois, for noise wall replacement near Ogden Avenue on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294).
  • A $1.3 million contract to Hecker and Company Inc., Wheeling, Illinois, for material fabrication and storage for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) material on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) between 95th Street and Flagg Creek.
  • A $1.2 million contract to Meru Corporation, Niles, Illinois, for utility relocation under the Union Pacific Railroad on the new I-490 Tollway.
  • A $674,357 contract to Natural Creations Landscaping, Joliet, Illinois, for landscape planting improvements on the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) between I-55 and Ogden Avenue.
February professional engineering services contracts awarded include:
  • A $5 million contract to TranSystems Corporation, Schaumburg, Illinois, construction management services upon request systemwide.
  • A $3 million contract to Patrick Engineering Inc., Lisle, Illinois, construction management services upon request on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).
  • A $3 million contract to ABNA Engineering Inc., Chicago, Illinois, for design services upon request on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).


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