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Illinois mulls P3 for I-55 managed lanes

Illinois mulls P3 for I-55 managed lanes Illinois lawmakers are publicly supporting a proposal to add managed lanes to a traffic-laden segment of Interstate 55

Wednesday Feb.10, 2016 Chase Collum Infrastructure Investor


Illinois lawmakers are publicly supporting a proposal to add managed lanes to a traffic-laden segment of Interstate 55, near Chicago, on the basis that carrying out such an upgrade as a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) could save the state $425 million.   

Late last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was joined by a handful of state lawmakers to announce a resolution that would allow the state Department of Transportation (IDOT) to pursue the plan to add tolled or express tolled lanes to the highway.

"By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st Century," Rauner told the press at the time of the announcement.

The resolution authorises IDOT to commence procurement for the potential project, which will run from Interstate 355 to Interstate 90 and 94 in DuPage, Cook, and Will counties. 

According to a 2011 state law, IDOT can build, finance, operate and maintain highway infrastructure through P3s on the condition that legislative approval is achieved. 

Environmental review on the proposed I-55 project is already under way and should be completed this year. According to that timeline, construction would begin in 2017 and wrap by 2019. 

I-55 to see first P3 managed lane project in Illinois history

I-55 to see first P3 managed lane project in Illinois history - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced with members of the state general assembly a plan allowing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to add at least one additional lane in each direction to a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 55 near Chicago using a public-private partnership (P3) agreement.

Monday Feb. 8, 2016 Chris Hill Matthew Dietrich Equipment World's Better Roads

 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced with members of the state general assembly a plan allowing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to add at least one additional lane in each direction to a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 55 near Chicago using a public-private partnership (P3) agreement.

IDOT is allowed to use P3 agreements only if the general assembly adopts a resolution supporting a proposed project, a state law in place since 2011.

This would be the first P3 managed lane project in the state.

"By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st century," Rauner says. "This is an innovative project that will create jobs, improve the region's quality of life and show that Illinois is open for business."

The section of I-55 in question runs from I-355, also known as Veterans Memorial Tollway, to I-90/I-94, also known as Dan Ryan Expressway. It is estimated 170,000 vehicles travel on the highway each day.

The plan opens up options for tolled and non-tolled carpool lanes as well as express toll lanes, with federal environmental studies to be completed later this year to determine the preferred option.

Officials estimate a P3 for this project would save $435 million on construction and construction could start next year and be completed by 2019.

"Managed lanes are truly an expressway within an expressway - one more option that will make travel more convenient for everyone who uses I-55," says Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "This project signals a new way of doing business at IDOT and a model for improvements throughout our system."

 

Rauner, Democrats Lay Out Plan for I-55 Expansion

Rauner, Democrats Lay Out Plan for I-55 Expansion - A year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner was on a barnstorming tour of Illinois to promote his Illinois Turnaround agenda in advance of the spring legislative and budget-making session.

Friday Feb. 5, 2016 Matthew Dietrich Executive Editor of Reboot Illinois

 

A year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner was on a barnstorming tour of Illinois to promote his Illinois Turnaround agenda in advance of the spring legislative and budget-making session.

The was a prelude to what has become an eight-month standoff between Rauner and Democrats over the FY 2016 state budget, which today exists only as an abstract concept.

As calendar year 2016 dawned, Rauner adopted a new approach to his public appearances. Rather than calling press conferences to scold Democrats for blocking his reform agenda, Rauner has focused on efforts based more in pragmatism than politics. These have included creating a new department to overhaul state government's information technology system, pushing to reform the state's purchasing system and creating a private non-profit corporation to run the state's economic development efforts.

The latest example came Thursday, when Rauner gathered a bipartisan group of lawmakers to announce his vision of a public-private partnership that would widen the congested Stevenson Expressway, probably with express toll lanes.

The project would cover the Stevenson between the Veterans Tollway (I-355) and the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94), a 25-mile stretch that handles 170,000 vehicles daily and is prone to long delays, especially during peak travel times. Under a 2011 state law, IDOT can pursue projects using public-private partnerships, as long as the General Assembly approves a resolution supporting the project.

"By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st century," Rauner said. "This is an innovative project that will create jobs, improve the region's quality of life and show that Illinois is open for business."

While Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly have deadlocked on just about everything since mid-2015, the presence of Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval at Rauner's announcement indicates this project might be an exception. Sandoval, D-Cicero, is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and his 11th Senate District includes House Speaker Michael Madigan's 22nd House District.

"This region has seen explosive growth in the past decade, but that has increased traffic on the Stevenson," Sandoval said. "Allowing IDOT to explore a public-private partnership will be a win for taxpayers and drivers. I stand with Governor Rauner to find new ways to relieve congestion on this important corridor for Illinois."

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, also spoke in favor of the idea. "What we are proposing today would give IDOT leeway to further explore the possibility of using private funds to keep the I-55 Congestion Relief Project alive and moving forward," Durkin said.

The Illinois Tollway Authority manages a vast network of toll roads in greater Chicago, but the concept of "managed lanes" -- in which motorists have a choice of free or paid lanes -- is new to Illinois. Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn described it as "an expressway within an expressway."

Rauner's plan could include congestion pricing, in which the price in toll lanes is higher at peak times. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has championed this idea for the flexibility it offers drivers and as a more effective means of financing road maintenance.

"Our region's congestion is already among the nation's highest. Without new approaches, it will only increase due to the projected growth of our population, jobs,and traffic. Current revenues are not keeping up with maintenance and operation costs. Underinvestment and deferred maintenance have strained our transportation system, leaving us with aging infrastructure that is deteriorating in some places," CMAP said in its GO TO 2040 report.

There's obvious, immediate appeal to Rauner's idea for anyone who regularly travels the Stevenson. Anything that might relieve its congestion, even at a price, will be welcomed by drivers who travel it regularly.

There's also a big-picture aspect that could portend a different approach to the state's highway system in the future. Illinois has struggled to keep up with the cost of highway maintenance, and ideas such as increasing the gas tax and implementing an annual mileage-based use tax are among those that have been discussed as solutions.

If the managed-lane approach works on the Stevenson, it could lead to similar efforts elsewhere on Illinois highways. Rauner said the public-private nature of the project, which could start as soon as next year be finished in 2019, would save taxpayers $425 million. The conventional gas tax or toll approach to highway funding can raise money, but innovations like managed lanes raise money while also addressing congestion and efficiency.

"Express toll lanes give travelers choices. Congestion in the Chicago region costs drivers time, money, and patience. Building expressway capacity is critical to handle our traffic, but construction cannot relieve congestion completely, especially with growth in traffic over time," says the CMAP report. "A new strategy is needed, one that gives drivers the option to avoid congestion."

 

 

Would you pay to go faster on I-55?

Would you pay to go faster on I-55? - Gov. Bruce Rauner is hoping the private sector will pitch in to widen the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) between the city and suburbs using "managed lanes."

Thursday Feb. 4, 2016 Marni Pyke Daily Herald

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner is hoping the private sector will pitch in to widen the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) between the city and suburbs using "managed lanes."

The public-private partnership would be a first in Illinois and focuses on adding an express lane in both directions of I-55 that's either tolled or for carpools. Such an arrangement would get results quicker and cheaper than conventional methods, the governor said at a Thursday news conference.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has spent months studying how to relieve traffic jams on I-55. The plan involves building another lane in each direction of I-55 between Veterans Memorial Tollway and the Dan Ryan Expressway junction in Chicago, a 25-mile stretch of freeway along 16 municipalities that squeezes in 170,000 vehicles daily.

The state's last flirtation with public-private partnerships involved the ill-fated Illiana Expressway, now shelved.

Widening I-55 is much more viable, thinks Metropolitan Planning Council Vice President Peter Skosey. The MPC opposed the Illiana.

Skosey said there's "tremendous interest" in widening I-55.

"It's an existing corridor, there's existing ridership, the demand is very clear. Exploring tolling as a revenue source is a smart thing to do," he said. "It could be done by the (Illinois) tollway or a private concessionaire.

"It's not building a new road in the middle of unchartered territory. The right of way is there, it exists on the shoulders ... we're not talking about acquiring vast swathes of land."

Transportation expert Steve Schlickman agreed I-55 can easily accommodate extra lanes. "It is a good fit for IDOT's demonstrating the feasibility of managed lanes. I would assume that Pace's bus on shoulder operation would continue to be accommodated," said Schlickman, former chief of UIC's Urban Transportation Center.

But others cautioned that any private sector deals should be subject to scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act and the public should be protected if the project loses money.

"Illinois taxpayers should not be left holding the financial bag if the toll revenues turn out to be less rosy than forecasted," Environmental Law and Policy Center Executive Director Howard Learner said.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House GOP Leader Jim Durkin also backed getting the private sector to finance and operate the project, which needs legislative approval and a buy-in from the Democrats who are feuding with Rauner.

"We're happy to examine a bill," said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Here's a look at what managed lanes might mean:

• Express toll lane -- drivers pay a toll to use this lane with the promise of a swift trip.

• High occupancy vehicle lane -- a carpool lane that's restricted to carloads of more than just one person.

• High occupancy toll lane -- an express lane for vehicles with more than one person that also can be used by solo drivers willing to pay for the privilege.

• Congestion priced lane -- drivers pay a toll to use this express lane typically during morning and afternoon rush hours. Prices can vary depending on demand.

Other cities that use managed lanes include Minneapolis, San Diego, Houston, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Denver, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale.

An IDOT survey found that 75 percent of people on the Stevenson drive alone, and 97 percent call traffic congestion disruptive.

Rauner plans public-private update to I-55 that may add tolls

Rauner plans public-private update to I-55 that may add tolls - Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday suggested the state should partner with private investors to build special toll lanes along a congested section of the Stevenson Expressway.

 

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 Kim Geiger, Monique Garcia and Celeste Bott Chicago Tribune

 

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday suggested the state should partner with private investors to build special toll lanes along a congested section of the Stevenson Expressway.

 

If built, the new lanes would span a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 55 between the Veterans Memorial Tollway and the Dan Ryan Expressway. It's possible carpoolers could use the new lanes for free, the governor said.

 

Rauner's idea is to build the new lanes under a public-private partnership model where private contractors would help pay for the construction and recoup their investment by charging tolls. Such an arrangement must be approved by a majority of the General Assembly before it can be pursued.

 

"This is fundamentally about growth," Rauner said. "We're asking financiers to invest and provide growth opportunity that it's very difficult for taxpayers to pay for right now."

 

Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said he hopes to have a decision on how to design the expansion this spring and for construction to begin in late 2017. The administration also would have to find a company willing to take on such a deal.

 

As envisioned, the expansion would create at least one new lane on each side of the expressway. Tolls on that lane would be set based on the level of congestion on the expressway and in the special lane. Existing lanes would remain free, but drivers who want to avoid traffic would have the option to enter the new lane at a price.

 

Drivers "can choose to pay a toll or not," Rauner said. "If they're in a hurry and they want to get around the congestion, they can pay a toll and we'll try to keep the tolls modest as we can so that they can get where they need to go very quickly."

 

That "congestion pricing" concept has existed in the U.S. since 1995, when express lanes were installed in Orange County, Calif. It is used in at least 10 states, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which has studied the idea.

 

Supporters said adding a special lane would help relieve the congestion that often turns I-55 into a post-concert parking lot between the suburbs and the city.

 

Peter Skosey, executive vice president of the Metropolitan Planning Council, a nonprofit focused on regional growth, said that simply adding extra lanes doesn't always relieve traffic because more drivers will flock to the road. By limiting the amount of drivers who can use the road, either through tolls or designating lanes as carpool only, traffic will continue to flow smoothly.

 

"The toll would be adjusted based upon the demand, so that you can always ensure a free-flow movement," said Skosey, who said the goal is to keep cars moving at least 45 mph.

 

Blankenhorn said a rate for the tolls has not been set, but he pointed to a CMAP study that estimated a price of $2.75 each way. Upper limits for the toll pricing will be part of contract negotiations with investors, he said.

 

First, Rauner needs approval from lawmakers to move forward with the idea, and he is warring with the Democratic majority over a budget for state government. The concept, however, has support from some Democrats who see it as a way to create jobs and improve infrastructure during a time of financial turmoil for the state.

 

"We need to keep people in Illinois working," said Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. "Working families deserve projects like this. This is going to pay the mortgage, this is going to pay the bills, this is going to keep life going, the quality of life that many of us enjoy, for over a decade."

 

Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who has supported the idea of private-public partnerships, said it's a way to fund projects the state might not otherwise be able to take on as it enters its eighth month without a budget.

 

"If we had to rely solely on state resources, we couldn't possibly contemplate doing this project right now," Steans said.

 

But she cautioned that the state needs to protect the public's interest before taking private funds, citing Chicago's privatization of parking meters as an example of what could go wrong. "Taxpayers have to benefit from these projects," Steans said.

 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tried to get public-private partnerships going through his Chicago Infrastructure Trust, but progress has been slow.

 

This is the third time in a month that Rauner, who made his fortune as a private equity investor, has turned to the private sector with a partnership offer.

 

Last month, Rauner assembled a group of business leaders to volunteer their time for a state program to promote minority entrepreneurship. Last week, Rauner's administration formed a not-for-profit corporation to negotiate business tax incentives on behalf of the state, and on Wednesday the governor directed his Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to work with the private entity.

 

Rauner said he expects investors will be willing to put their money behind the I-55 lane project.

 

"My experience in this world -- I've had some over the last 30 years -- I think we'll have investors very interested in this opportunity," Rauner said.

 

Rauner announces plan for private-public partnership for I-55 widening

Rauner announces plan for private-public partnership for I-55 widening - Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Thursday a plan to add managed lanes to Interstate 55 through a private-public partnership.

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 -The HERALD-NEWS


Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Thursday a plan to add managed lanes to Interstate 55 through a private-public partnership.

Tolls could be charged in the new lanes that would be added between interstates 355 and 90/94.

"Managed lanes are truly an expressway within an expressway - one more option that will make travel more convenient for everyone who uses I-55," Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a news release. "This project signals a new way of doing business at IDOT and a model for improvements throughout our system."

Will County Center for Economic Development President and CEO John Greuling said the "innovative financing" of a public-private partnership is a good approach to financing a transportation project, noting that Will County has examined that option with previous plans for the Illiana expressway and a south suburban airport.

"For us, it's very beneficial," Greuling said of the plan, which the CED supports. "Interstate 55 is a major thoroughfare for passengers and freight corridor for the whole area. Any way to add capacity to 55 will be a benefit to Will County."

The state is looking at different options for the lanes, including tolled and untolled carpool lanes and express tolling lanes. The state will complete federal environmental studies later this year before deciding how the lanes will be used.

The state plans to add at least one lane in each direction to the 25-mile section of I-55 that now handles 170,000 vehicles a day, according to the release from the governor's office.

A 2011 state law allows IDOT to build, finance, operate and maintain highway projects using public-private partnerships, as long as the General Assembly adopts a resolution in support of the project.

"By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st century," Rauner said in the news release. "This is an innovative project that will create jobs, improve the region's quality of life and show that Illinois is open for business."

Rauner was joined by legislators in making the announcement of legislation to create the public-private partnership for additional I-55 lanes.

"Relieving the congestion on this stretch of I-55 must be a priority for the state of Illinois," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont, said in the release. "However, we must also recognize the state must be creative in addressing our transportation challenges. This is an innovative approach that has been successful in other states and should be explored here."

Rauner launches plan to add toll lanes on I-55

Rauner launches plan to add toll lanes on I-55 - Gov. Bruce Rauner today floated a plan to add a pair of lanes, likely with tolls, to crowded Interstate 55 (the Stevenson Expressway) between I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) and I-90/94 (the Dan Ryan Expressway).

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 Greg Hinz on Politics

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner today floated a plan to add a pair of lanes, likely with tolls, to crowded Interstate 55 (the Stevenson Expressway) between I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) and I-90/94 (the Dan Ryan Expressway).

Though the proposal needs approval by the highly polarized General Assembly, one key Democratic lawmaker threw his backing behind the plan, perhaps a sign that something actually will occur.

Specifically, Rauner announced his legislative allies have filed legislation to allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to negotiate a deal with an as-yet-unspecified private group, known as a public-private partnership, to study options for the Stevenson. Among those options are tolls that would go up or down depending on the time of day, a strategy known as congestion pricing.

 

The goal is to add at least one lane in each direction on a 25-mile stretch of road that now carries an average of 170,000 vehicles a day. Not yet determined is whether the lanes will be tolled or free, or express toll lanes. But it's hard to imagine a private company would be interested in fronting the hundreds of millions of dollars likely needed without the promise of a revenue stream.

For the state, a public-private partnership could allow it to do work that Illinois can't afford, with lawmakers reluctant to raise gasoline or other taxes for the state's road construction fund.

"Managed lanes are truly an expressway within an expressway, one more option that will make travel more convenient," said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn.

Blankenhorn previously headed the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, a government group which has strongly backed the idea of using the Stevenson as a public-private partnership model. CMAP's current executive director, Joe Szabo, promptly endorsed Rauner's idea, saying in a statement, "Although new to our region, congestion pricing has been used successfully in the U.S. since 1995, with more than two dozen instances where it is being deployed to give drivers better choices for getting around."

Such systems are common in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in particular, with freeways and tollways running parallel to each other.

But CMAP has been a vigorous opponent of another public-private partnership project, the proposed Illiana Corridor, saying the expressway would be an economic boondoggle.

That suggests that though Rauner's plan got some immediate backing from Illinois Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, legislators ought to ask some tough questions.

A 2011 state law allows IDOT to build, finance, operate and maintain highway projects using a public-private partnership model, so long as the Legislature adopts a resolution in favor of the project. The General Assembly's two GOP leaders, Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin, appeared with Rauner at a news conference today and are backing such a resolution.

IDOT says using a public-private partnership model could allow it to save up to $425 million in construction costs. Work could begin as soon as next year and be completed by 2019.

Update, 4 p.m. -- A sign that Rauner's proposal might face some headwinds is coming from Howard Learner, head of Environmental Law & Policy Center.

"When it comes to these types of P3 deals, the devil is in the details," Learner says in a statement. "We need to make sure that the public is truly receiving its fair share of the benefits, and that the private investors are assuming their fair share of financial risks as well as potential rewards. The Illiana Tollway is an unfortunate example of a poorly designed P3 that imposes much too much financial risk on the public."

Gov. Rauner Declares I-55 Open for Business

CHICAGO - Gov. Bruce Rauner today was joined by legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce a legislative resolution that would allow the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to pursue adding managed lanes to Interstate 55 under a private-public partnership.

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Contact

Governor's Office: Catherine Kelly
Catherine.Kelly@illinois.gov

IDOT: Guy Tridgell
Guy.Tridgell@illinois.gov

Gianna Urgo
Gianna.Urgo@illinois.gov

 

Gov. Rauner Declares I-55 Open for Business

New Resolution to Advance Managed Lanes as Possible P3

 

CHICAGO - Gov. Bruce Rauner today was joined by legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce a legislative resolution that would allow the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to pursue adding managed lanes to Interstate 55 under a private-public partnership. By seeking out a P3 agreement, the state could deliver the project benefits more quickly and at a reduced cost.

"By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st century," Gov. Rauner said. "This is an innovative project that will create jobs, improve the region's quality of life and show that Illinois is open for business."

The I-55 managed lanes project would add at least one lane in each direction to a critical travel corridor between Interstate 355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) and Interstate 90/94 (Dan Ryan Expressway). The 25-mile section accommodates 170,000 vehicles a day, but suffers from long, unreliable travel times, resulting in frustrating commutes for workers and increased costs for the delivery of goods and services.

Options for the additional lanes currently being explored include tolled and untolled carpool lanes and express tolling lanes. The state will complete the federal environmental studies later this year to identify the preferred option. 

A 2011 state law allows IDOT to build, finance, operate, and maintain highway projects using public-private partnerships, as long as the General Assembly adopts a resolution in support of the project. That law is modeled on best practices from across the country and includes opportunities for public hearings and input. The resolution introduced today would allow IDOT to further explore a P3 for the I-55 project and commence the procurement process. While managed lanes have been successful in other states as P3s, the I-55 project would be a first for Illinois.

"Managed lanes are truly an expressway within an expressway - one more option that will make travel more convenient for everyone who uses I-55," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "This project signals a new way of doing business at IDOT and a model for improvements throughout our system."

"Regardless of the time of day, there is congestion along the Stevenson Expressway.  Not only is it a source of regular frustration for drivers, including myself, it can be a dangerous situation for both motorist and passengers," said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. "What we are proposing today would give IDOT leeway to further explore the possibility of using private funds to keep the I-55 Congestion Relief Project alive and moving forward."

"Relieving the congestion on this stretch of I-55 must be a priority for the state of Illinois," said Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. "However, we must also recognize the state must be creative in addressing our transportation challenges. This is an innovative approach that has been successful in other states and should be explored here."

"This region has seen explosive growth in the past decade, but that has increased traffic on the Stevenson," said Sen. Martin Sandoval, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "Allowing IDOT to explore a public-private partnership will be a win for taxpayers and drivers. I stand with Governor Rauner to find new ways to relieve congestion on this important corridor for Illinois."

Using a P3 on this project could save taxpayers an estimated $425 million in construction costs. Possible toll revenues from the project and P3 financing sources would be available to pay for construction, operation, and maintenance costs. Construction could start as early as next year and wrap up in 2019.

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Second Public Meeting was Held December 9, 2015

The second Open House Public Meeting concerning the improvement of Interstate 55 (I-55) from I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) to the I-90/I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) in DuPage and Cook Counties was held at the Holiday Inn Countryside Conference Center 6201 Joliet Road Countryside, IL 60525 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Illinois Department of Transportation traffic noise policy

It is the policy of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to assess traffic noise impacts on proposed transportation projects such as highways on new location or the addition of through travel lanes. Land uses evaluated for noise impacts include residential areas, schools, libraries, and parks or other recreational areas which may be affected by highway traffic noise. During the project development stage traffic noise studies are performed. The Federal Highway Administrations' (FHWA) Traffic Noise Model (TNM) is used to predict traffic noise impacts. If the predicted noise levels approach or exceed FHWA's noise abatement criteria, noise abatement measures are considered. Abatement measures such as noise walls or berms are effective in reducing traffic noise that will result from the transportation improvement. While landscaping can be used as an effective visual barrier, studies have shown that trees and shrubbery alone do not provide significant reduction in noise levels and are not approved as a noise abatement measure.

To aid in the understanding of the nature of noise in general, and traffic noise in particular, the IDOT Traffic Noise Tutorial was updated based on IDOT's new noise policy, approved in 2011. This information is presented in three parts, or modules, along with a section on frequently asked questions and a glossary of terms and acronyms. The first module explains what noise is, the way in which it is perceived and measured, variations within distances and how mobile sources affect noise. The second part of the tutorial presents information regarding the initiation of a noise analysis, federal regulations regarding traffic noise, a description of noise monitoring and the components or inputs used in the TNM. Part three describes various noise abatement measures and approaches and describes noise barrier evaluation and design. 

IDOT's Highway Traffic Noise Assessment Manual describes techniques and procedures for analyzing and reporting traffic noise impacts. The Manual was updated in 2011 based on IDOT's new noise policy, and includes a discussion of abatement measures which can be incorporated into project designs to mitigate traffic noise impacts. Also included are references and examples to aid in the evaluation of traffic noise and abatement, as well as guidelines for the documentation of analyses in IDOT environmental documents. This guidance manual is issued in an effort to ensure that studies and reports on traffic noise prepared by or for IDOT are consistent with existing laws and regulations and are technically accurate and sufficient.

http://www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/environment/index

Fourth Corridor Planning Group (CPG) Meeting was held on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) hosted the fourth Corridor Planning Group (CPG) Meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at the Holiday Inn 6201 Joliet Road Countryside, IL 60525 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Illinois interstates 5th busiest in nation

The Associated Press
Posted Aug 19, 2013 @ 09:21 AM

 

A new federal report says Illinois highways are the fifth-busiest in the nation.

The data from the Federal Highway Administration was released Monday and looked at total miles driven on state highways in 2011. It shows Illinois was ranked behind California, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

In 2011, vehicles traveled more than 31 billion miles on Illinois interstates. Records show I-55 was the most traveled interstate in Illinois, logging about 4.6 billion miles. Next was I-90, with about 3.9 billion miles, followed by I-57 with about 3.2 billion miles.

Federal transportation officials say knowing how many miles are driven on each interstate is important for managing congestion and repairs.

The data was compiled using information from automated traffic recorders.

I-55 Managed Lane Project Survey

Thank you for the numerous survey responses. We appreciate your feedback regarding the existing corridor and your experiences with the use of managed lanes. Please continue to visit the website for future information on the survey results. We look forward to your continued participation in the I-55 Managed Lane Project.

I-55 Managed Lane Survey - Provide your input and take our survey.

Tell us about your travel experiences on the I-55 corridor between I-355 and I-90/I-94. We are interested in your thoughts about the existing corridor.  Give us your input and take our survey!  Watch for the survey results in future newsletters and on the website.  Please submit your survey by December 15, 2012.

Public Meeting to Be Held November 1, 2012

You are invited to attend an Open House Public Meeting concerning the improvement of Interstate 55 (I-55) from I-355 (Veterans Memorial Tollway) to the I-90/I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) in DuPage and Cook Counties. 

Corridor Planning Group and Project Study Group to Help Shape Solutions

IDOT is forming project working groups. These groups will meet to participate in every major aspect of the NEPA process including defining the transportation needs, developing and evaluating alternatives, and evaluating the preferred alternative.

The Corridor Planning Group (CPG) will provide broad perspectives as well as community level input regarding various aspects of the I-55 Project. The Corridor Planning Group (CPG) consists of study area municipal leaders and representatives from Cook and, DuPage Counties along with regional and local transportation agencies.

The Project Study Group (PSG), comprised of members of IDOT, FHWA, and the consultants, will be responsible for the project development process and for making project recommendations and decisions.