Archive for the ‘Illinois Tollway’ Category

Flock SBSuburban ne’er-do-wells, beware — South Barrington officials are set to increase the village’s already-hefty arsenal of crime-fighting automated license plate readers.

The village board on Thursday could vote to acquire another camera designed to read and record license plates and other automobile information.

The village began installing plate readers in neighborhoods in 2020, Village Administrator Bob Palmer said. About 50 are active in town.

The cameras passively scan passing vehicles and record images. The system alerts police when a car suspected of being used in a crime passes a camera, based on manufacturer, model, color, distinguishing features or marks and license plates. Information about cars without plates can be used, too.

The village’s cameras have come from Atlanta-based Flock Group, and the new one would, too. The lease for the new camera, if approved, will cost the village $2,500 annually, officials said.

Read more here.

Related:Barrington considers installing cameras to read license plates,” “Barrington trustees vote to spend $70,000 on license plate reading cameras,” “Privacy concerns raised over proliferation of license plate cameras,” “Libertyville police planning license plate readers at five locations,” “Lake County officials wary of license plate readers’ potential privacy issues,” “Editorial: Do those multiplying license plate readers mean Big Brother is watching?

Read Full Post »


NASCAR’s Chicago Street race is slated to take over the city for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but the impacts for drivers will be felt long before and after the race is done.

Officials on Monday detailed a traffic plan, featuring more than a month of rolling closures around the city in the lead-up and tear-down for the first-time event.

Closures will include major roadways like DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Jackson Drive, Balbo Drive and Michigan Avenue and are expected to kick off on June 2 and continue through July 15, adding to a long list of traffic disruptions for drivers in the city already battling major construction projects on the Kennedy Expressway and elsewhere.

The biggest interruptions are slated to begin on June 25. (Full list of closures below)

On top of the closures, officials said they expect roughly 50,000 people to attend each day of the two-day event.

“The city of Chicago has been working with NASCAR in the planning and execution of the race to minimize disruptions to residents and visitors while making it a safe event for everyone,” Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority, and we will help monitor all race activity leading up to the event, through the race weekend, and following the event to help coordinate city resources and expectations.”

The deal between NASCAR and the city of Chicago, which was announced last summer, gives NASCAR access to Grant Park from June 22 to July 5.

More here.

Read Full Post »

Wait For It

In three weeks, IDOT will start a major rehabilitation of 36 bridges that go over the Kennedy Expressway.

Some of those structures are 50 years old.

“We reached and exceeded what would be the lifespan of this roadway. And, for the motorists, you can see the state of disrepair that the road decks are in, and now is the time to repair that,” said IDOT Bureau Chief of Construction Jonathan Schumacher.

It will be a three-year project between the Edens/Kennedy Junction and Ohio Street. This year, the focus will be on the inbound Kennedy, starting with the left two lanes later next month.

“We are going to tackle some other project that would have impact if we didn’t do them all together, so we are coordinating this work over a three-year period. We’re able to get multiple projects done,” Schumacher said.

The project comes after IDOT just completed the Jane Byrne interchange project that took nine years.

“It’s frustrating, but I guess we’ll have to be patient and be safe,” said motorist Stephon Asbury.

The inconvenience is not lost on IDOT officials.

More here.

Read Full Post »


Two bills on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would spend $20 million to add license plate monitoring cameras to 6,600 miles of highways in 22 counties. Civil rights groups fret about abuse. Illinois State Police can’t say they increase safety.

Two bills on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk could expand Illinois highway camera monitoring program to cover 6,600 more miles of road across 22 counties as the General Assembly looks to crack down on expressway crime before November elections.

House Bill 260 and House Bill 448 – passed alongside 80 other proposals in the final day of the legislative session – would see the governor expand a license plate monitoring pilot program from Cook County to the rest of Illinois with $20 million in new funding.

The measure would add hundreds of new cameras while increasing the number of crimes the cameras can be used to investigate and number of parties who can prosecute them.

While lawmakers argue the bills could assist in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed on state expressways, the Illinois State Police note they have been unable to quantify the number of crimes solved by the cameras during the Cook County pilot program.

Civil liberty groups opposed to the devices said there is a lack of transparency that leaves the program ripe for abuse. There is no information on how cameras are placed, there is a ban on drivers reviewing footage when charged with violations and there are requirements for law enforcement to delete video 120 days after recording – essentially destroying the evidence.

ISP spokesman Melaney Arnold said the agency would finalize and share camera locations only after the bill was signed into law. The new legislation notably excludes explicit guidance on which roadways would receive the additional monitoring.

More here.

Related:Highway camera expansion covering 6,600 miles of road in 22 counties awaits Pritzker’s signature

Read Full Post »

Charging Stations

Is an electric vehicle on your wishlist for Santa? It’s a fabulous gift. But unlike other battery-operated toys under the tree, recharging is more complex than just grabbing a new AA.

Fortunately, the stars are in alignment for rookie EV owners in 2022 with the federal and state government investing heavily in expanding what now is a limited number of charging stations.

“Everybody’s going to see more stations,” explained John Walton, Chicago Area Clean Cities chairman. However, “there’s more than what most people realize.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s charger locator listed 46,088 public charging stations nationwide as of Friday. Of those, nearly 90% are standard Level 2 units, which deliver a full charge in six to eight hours. The remainder are DC Fast chargers that can provide up to 80% power in about 30 minutes, Walton said.

Close to home, a quick check on Clean Cities’ station locator shows chargers at diverse spots such as the Rolling Meadows courthouse, a Lisle Mobil station, College of Lake County, Delnor Hospital in Geneva, the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and the AMC Lake in the Hills 12 cinemas.

It’s a little random. And it’s definitely not enough, Walton noted. “Sometimes it seems like there’s no rhyme nor reason,” he said.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

Toll Farce

Where did you go, toll collection machine? Probably in storage, after the Illinois tollway mothballed more than 100 units, which all told cost about $20 million to purchase and maintain.( Marni Pyke | Staff Photographer)

In roughly four years, a fleet of over 100 automatic payment machines along the Illinois tollway has sunk from essential tools to expensive white elephants.

The machines’ short but eventful lifetimes span two different tollway administrations under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Their price tag is more than $20 million, split between purchase and maintenance costs.

Back in early 2017, the tollway board under Rauner decided to replace its aging coin buckets with “more technologically advanced automatic toll payment machines that will provide more payment options and better service to our customers,” spokesman Dan Rozek said at the time.

“The new ATPMs will cost less than $100,000 each and will offer more payment options than the current coin machines, which are at least 20 years old, accept only coins, and are difficult to repair because replacement parts have to be specially manufactured.”

Gradually the new machines popped up across the system from DeKalb to Oak Lawn. But not everyone was happy with the innovations.

In November 2019, the Daily Herald reported that 80 out of 110 machines installed did not provide change to drivers paying in cash. As a result, the agency was overpaid about $152,000.

The new team of tollway leaders appointed by Pritzker stood by the technology, noting that “the ATPMs operate reliably and function well in real-world conditions, with the machines as a whole remaining fully operational more than 99% of the time.”

Read more here.

Read Full Post »


As many as 1.5 million uninsured Illinois drivers will have something new to worry about starting July 1: computers, twice a year, will try to catch them.

On July 1, the Illinois Secretary of State will begin using a vendor to check the insurance status of all drivers in Illinois in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured drivers. The computer checks will be twice a year and most drivers won’t even know about them, unless the computer can’t find a driver’s insurance info.

Then a warning letter is generated stating their license plates are being suspended.

After the warning letter, uninsured drivers will be required to obtain insurance and a $100 fine will be imposed to reinstate the plates.

If the state sends the warning letter and a driver does have insurance, the driver must contact their insurance agent, provide them the reference number from the warning notice and the agent must then resolve the matter with the state.

Illinois has about 8.5 million drivers, and estimates between 1.2 million and 1.5 million don’t have the required liability insurance. The Illinois Secretary of State estimates the random checks can reduce that by several hundred thousand.

Read on here.

Read Full Post »

53 Greenway

First came the Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail-to-trail conversions in the United States. Later, The 606 trail in Chicago attracted crowds of bikers and runners and led to skyrocketing nearby property values. Now, a group of conservationists and elected officials in Lake County are pushing to turn a former proposed tollway corridor into a greenway — a trail through a long, narrow nature preserve.

Illinois lawmakers recently approved a resolution calling for a task force to study alternate uses for the proposed extension of Illinois Route 53 in the northwest suburbs. The effort picks up where Illinois tollway officials left off in 2019 when they dropped plans for the road.

Believers in the project cite it as an example of a popular trend away from highways and greenhouse gas emissions, and toward preservation of natural areas. Critics see it as a boondoggle for a relatively small number of people, rather than a project that could have served 100,000 drivers a day and spurred economic development.

While Republicans traditionally have supported road projects, the resolution passed unanimously in both chambers, suggesting growing bipartisan support for nature paths.

“These become beloved spaces where diverse residents, young and old, flock to get fresh air, walk, bike, and share a moment with each other,” said Gerald Adelmann, president and CEO of the nonprofit Openlands conservation group. “This is our moment to create that kind of legacy for our communities.”

Road builders see it differently. Mike Sturino, president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, cited widespread past support for the expressway.

“The majority of working people suffer when you pull the plug on needed infrastructure,” Sturino said. “I like bike lanes, but we have to be realistic. It’s shocking when respectable officials are browbeaten by a radical fringe to go along with this reckless move.”

Read more here.

Read Full Post »


A rendering of the new Global Terminal at O’Hare International Airport, expected to be completed by 2028. It will replace Terminal 2.

The Federal Aviation Administration is scrutinizing Chicago’s monumental plan to build a new global terminal at O’Hare International Airport, punch a hole in its west side and add two new concourses.

The review will assess whether the proposal is likely to significantly affect the environment — and you have an opportunity to chime in. Comments from the public are being accepted now through July 9.

The result could trigger a more detailed environmental impact statement or the FAA could conclude there’s no significant issues.

Known as the Airport Terminal Project, its blockbuster feature is a $2.2 billion Global Terminal that will accommodate domestic and international airlines with customs and immigration services. The billowy, Y-shaped design, created by a team led by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, incorporates glass, wood and steel and will be twice the size of Terminal 2, which it’s replacing.

A tunnel will connect the Global Terminal to two concourses on the west side of the airport, intended to be double the size of existing ones and able to fit wide- bodied planes. Overall, the construction should add 22 gates to O’Hare with the airport’s capacity expected to increase by 25% to 100 million passengers by 2026.

Also included are two new hotels, one at Terminal 5 and a second to be built as a multiuse complex off Mannheim Road.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

The Illinois tollway board approved an amnesty program through the end of 2020 for unpaid tolls and violations.

Tollway customers with outstanding fines will get a break from excessive fees with new policies that include a temporary amnesty program approved by board directors Thursday.

Starting on July 1, any existing fees and fines related to unpaid tolls would be greatly reduced through the end of December.

Customers would be required to pay the actual toll amount plus a $3 fine per violation instead of hefty fees of $20 and up to $50 that have caused much criticism of the agency over the years. Payments can be made at illinoistollway.

The amnesty lasts for six months and includes drivers facing collection proceedings.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: