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10 Million Drivers Expected on Illinois Tollways over Thanksgiving Weekend

The heaviest travel is expected Wednesday, when 1.7 million vehicles are projected to be on the road, according to tollway officials.

Drivers hitting the tollways in Illinois this Thanksgiving will not be alone, by any means.

The Illinois Tollway expects 10 million drivers to be on the toll roads throughout the state between Monday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 25.

Wednesday is expected to be the busiest travel day, with 1.7 million drivers projected to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway, officials said.

"The Illinois Tollway is expected to be busier than usual this holiday season," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in a press release. "We urge our customers to focus on the road by putting their cell phones away, and more importantly, remember that it is always illegal to text while driving in Illinois."

Tollway officials announced Monday that work is wrapping up on the $112.6 million Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Resurfacing Project between 95th Street in Oak Lawn and Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont. The Tollway will return traffic to the standard lane configuration in both directions and restore the speed limit to 55 mph for the Tuesday morning commute, according to the release.

All temporary construction lane closures will be suspended from noon on Wednesday through 9 a.m. Monday, officials said. While lane closures are suspended, motorists should be aware of major traffic shifts that are in place in construction work zones. 

Major construction areas where drivers should plan for slower traffic during the holiday include:

  • Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80): Between I-57 and Kedzie Avenue, I-294 traffic in both directions is reduced to three lanes and shifted right for the reconstruction of the I-294 bridges over 147th Street. 
  • Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88):Between Illinois Route 56 and Deerpath Road, traffic is shifted to the left in both directions for rebuilding and widening.
  • Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90): Westbound between Illinois Route 72 and Sandwald Road and between Anthony Road and I-39, traffic is shifted to the right for a shoulder widening project. Eastbound between I-39 and U.S. Route 20, traffic is shifted to the right.

A 45 mph speed limit is in effect in all construction zones where lanes are reduced, shifted or traffic is traveling on a shoulder, whether or not workers are present, officials said. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375. 

Illinois State Police District 15 will be out in force over the Thanksgiving holiday with an additional 45 troopers on duty, officials said. 

“The Illinois State Police has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois,” said District 15 Commander Captain Joe Perez in a press release. “Officers working this detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, transporting open alcoholic beverages or driving under the influence.”

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