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Interstate 90 in Illinois

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Title: Interstate 90 in Illinois  
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Subject: Dan Ryan Expressway, U.S. Route 51 in Illinois, Interstate 55 in Illinois, U.S. Route 41 in Illinois, Interstate 94 in Indiana
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Interstate 90 in Illinois

Interstate 90 marker

Interstate 90
Route information
Maintained by ISTHA, IDOT, and SCC
Length: 107.82 mi[1] (173.52 km)
Major junctions
West end: I-39 / I-90 at Wisconsin state line
East end: I-90 / Indiana Toll Road at Indiana state line
Highway system
IL 89 IL 90

Interstate 90 (I-90) in the U.S. state of Illinois runs roughly northwest-to-southeast through the northern part of the state, from the Wisconsin state line near Rockford to the Indiana state line at Chicago. I-90 traverses 108 miles (174 km) through a variety of settings, from farmland west of the Fox River Valley through the medium-density suburban west of O'Hare International Airport, through downtown Chicago, and through the heart of the industrial southeast side of Chicago before entering Indiana.

I-90 comprises several named highways. The Interstate runs along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway from Rockford to O'Hare Airport, the Kennedy Expressway runs from O'Hare to the Chicago Loop, the Dan Ryan Expressway from the Loop to the Chicago Skyway, and the Skyway to the Indiana state line. The Jane Addams and Chicago Skyway are toll roads maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and Skyway Concession Company, respectively. The remainder of the highway is maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The Chicago Skyway, also known as Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System, is a 7.8-mile-long (12.6 km) toll road in Chicago carrying I-90 from the Indiana Toll Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway on Chicago's South Side. The main feature of the Skyway is a 12-mile-long (0.80 km) steel truss bridge, known as the "High Bridge". The toll bridge spans the Calumet River and Calumet Harbor, a major harbor for industrial ships. The main span is 650 feet (200 m) long, provides for 125 feet (38 m) of vertical clearance, and is the highest road in Chicago.

The Jane Addams Tollway was built in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the Northwest Tollway. It was renamed in 2007 after Addams, the Nobel laureate and founder of the Settlement House movement in the United States. Between 2001 and 2004, authorities spent $250 million to rebuild much of the Chicago Skyway.

Route description

The Jane Addams Tollway in Schaumburg

Interstate 90 enters from Wisconsin with I-39. At the Rockton Road exit, I-39/90 becomes the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. The two Interstates run south to Rockford, where I-39 continues as a freeway south to Normal. I-90 continues southeast along the tollway through the Chicago area. In Schaumburg, I-90 meets the western end of I-290, the only loop from I-90 in Illinois.

I-90 passes O'Hare International Airport, where I-190, the only spur of I-90 in Illinois, branches west to the airport terminals. I-90 continues southeast as the Kennedy Expressway and is later joined with eastbound I-94; westbound I-94 runs on the Edens Expressway. I-90 and I-94 then pass through the city, intersecting the eastern end of I-290 just west of the Chicago Loop. South of I-290, the highway is given the name of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

On Chicago's South Side, I-90 splits off from I-94 and becomes the Chicago Skyway, again becoming a toll road. I-90 then runs directly southeast to the Indiana state line, and becomes the Indiana Toll Road at the state line.

Often confusing to non-residents is the direction system for I-90/94, in which signs that say "I-90/94 West" go north/northwest and signs that say "I-90/94 East" go south/southeast. This naming system is due to the overall direction of the expressway. I-90/94 West goes north, splits into I-94 and I-90, continues north to Wisconsin, and then goes west, I-90 going to Seattle. I-90/94 East goes south, splitting into two pieces, and then turns northeast, I-90 ending in Boston.

Chicago Skyway marker

Chicago Skyway
Location: Chicago
Length: 7.49 mi[1] (12.05 km)
Existed: April 1958 (1958-04)–present

Historically, the Chicago Skyway was signed as, and was widely considered to be part of, I-90 from the mid-1960s forward (after I-90 in this area had been swapped with I-94). However, around 1999, the city of Chicago realized they had never received official approval to designate the Skyway as I-90. The city subsequently replaced most of the "I-90" signage with "TO I-90/I-94" signage. However, the Illinois DOT has always and continues to report the Skyway as part of the Interstate system, and the Federal Highway Administration apparently still considers the Chicago Skyway an official part of I-90.[2]

The Skyway's official name, referring to it as a "toll bridge" rather than a "toll road", is the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge with a six-mile-long approach. This also is part of the reason that there are no exits available until after one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll.[3]


Toll plaza along the Chicago Skyway

Along the Jane Addams Tollway, there are four mainline toll barriers in each direction – two split plazas and two full plazas. The barriers are located around the O'Hare International Airport area (River Road eastbound and Devon Avenue westbound), in Elgin, near Marengo (Eastbound), in Belvidere (Westbound), and in South Beloit. I-39 travelers exiting or entering at Rockford paid at the Cherry Valley toll plaza, but that toll plaza has been decommissioned southbound in 2003 and northbound in 2004 due to traffic congestion.[4] In February 2006, the Marengo westbound and the Belvidere eastbound toll plazas were removed. Two two-toll plazas near O'Hare and the one in Elgin each charge cash tolls of $1.50(as of January 1, 2012) and I-Pass tolls of 75 cents for a 2-axle passenger vehicle. The South Beloit toll plaza near the Illinois and Wisconsin state line is $1.90 and 95 cents for I-Pass users (formerly $1.00 and 50 cents before 2012). Eastbound traffic does not pay a toll at Belvidere because of the removal of the eastbound Belvidere plaza, but pays $3.00 at Marengo (I-Pass users pay $1.50). On the other hand, westbound traffic pays no toll at Marengo but pays $3.00 at Belvidere (I-PASS users pay $1.50). This change was done to accommodate open road tolling construction. Originally, a ticket system was used to compute tolls on the segment between Beloit and Elgin with each driver receiving a Hollerith card upon entering and paying upon exiting, but it was replaced with a cash barrier system in the late 1970s. It was the only portion of the Illinois Tollways to use a ticket system.

The current rate for passenger cars and other two axle vehicles on the Chicago Skyway is $4.00; vehicles with more axles pay higher rates. A discount is given during the overnight hours for vehicles with three or more axles.[5]


I-90 at the Belvidere Oasis prior to the 2013-2014 rebuild/widen

There is one oasis on the Jane Addams Tollway at Belvidere, an over-highway oasis. This unique rest stop provides several vendors and allows tollway travels to rest, refuel and eat without having to exit the tollway. There was previously an oasis in Des Plaines near O'Hare, but it was closed and demolished in 2014 to make room for the widening of I-90 and eventually; the Elgin-O'Hare West Bypass.[6] There is also a welcome center south of Beloit, Wisconsin, that is located on the IDOT portion of the highway between the border with Wisconsin and Illinois tollway control. At the Chicago Skyway's toll plaza, there is a McDonald's at highway grade in the road's median.

Golden Corridor

From O'Hare to Huntley, the region around the Jane Addams Tollway is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Corridor", due to the proximity of commercial and business activity located along the corridor in Northwest Suburban Chicago. Several Fortune 500 companies, large malls, hotels, entertainment and exhibition facilities, restaurants, and retailers are located along the corridor.


Jane Addams Memorial Tollway

The 76-mile (122 km) Northwest Tollway portion of I-90 opened on August 20, 1958.[7] Prior to the opening, the first vehicle to officially travel the new roadway was a covered wagon navigated by local resident John Madsen who took 5 days to make the journey.[8]

On September 7, 2007, the Northwest Tollway was renamed the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway after Jane Addams, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Settlement House movement in the United States.[9][10]

The Illinois Tollway's 2005–2012 Congestion-Relief Program provided $644.1 million in improvements to the I-90 corridor.[11] The most prominent projects were the reconstruction of the I-90/I-39 interchange to improve traffic flow and reconstructing and widening the tollway to six lanes between I-39 and Rockton Road. This construction started in 2008 and was completed by the end of 2009.[12]

Chicago Skyway

Chicago Skyway in 1999

The Chicago Skyway was originally known as the Calumet Skyway.[13] It cost $101 million (1958, $791 million in 2011) to construct and took about 34 months to build. Nearly eight miles of elevated roadway, the Chicago Skyway was originally built as a shortcut from State Street, a major north-south street on Chicago's South Side that serves the Loop, to the steel mills on the Southeast to the Indiana state line where the Indiana Toll Road begins. Later, when the Dan Ryan Expressway opened, the Chicago Skyway was extended west to connect to it. There are only two eastbound exits east of the toll barrier, whereas there are four westbound exits west of the toll barrier (so that no exits are available until one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll). The Chicago Skyway opened to traffic on April 16, 1958.[13][14]

In the 1960s, the newly constructed Dan Ryan Expressway and the neighboring Calumet Expressway, Kingery Expressway and Borman Expressway provided free alternatives to the tollway, and the Skyway became much less used. As a result, from the 1970s through the early 1990s, the Skyway was unable to repay revenue bonds used in its construction.[15]

Traffic volumes have rebounded in recent years, (to 47,700 vehicles per day)[16] partially because of the construction of casinos in Northwest Indiana, along with re-construction of the Dan Ryan, Kingery and Borman Expressways. The city of Chicago claims a record number of motorists used the Skyway in 2002.

Chicago Skyway toll plaza McDonald's

In 2003 and 2004, the city of Chicago initiated a $250 million project to rehabilitate and widen the Skyway. The project involved extensive work on the cantilever span and its approaches that included replacing the bridge's structural steel, rebuilding the piers that support the structure, and reconstructing the bridge deck. Because the city of Chicago required the Skyway to remain open during construction, engineers had to construct temporary bridge piers that would bear the load of the bridge and its traffic while new piers were built. The bridge was lifted up onto the temporary piers using 600 ton hydraulic jacks, the old piers were removed, and new ones were built. Crews also devised innovative methods for replacing the bridge's structural steel, replacing steel members one at a time. This process involved installing hydraulic chords around the component to be replaced. The bridge load was then transferred to the hydraulic chord, the steel member was removed and a new steel member was then installed.[17]

In June 2005, the Skyway became compatible with electronic toll collection, with users now able to pay tolls using I-PASS, I-Zoom, or E-ZPass transponders. There is no discount for using a transponder.

The city of Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation formerly maintained the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System. A transaction that gave the city of Chicago a $1.83 billion cash infusion leased the Skyway to the Skyway Concession Company (SCC), a joint-venture between the Australian Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Spanish Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A., which assumed operations on the Skyway on a 99–year operating lease. SCC will be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs of the Skyway but has the right to all toll and concession revenue. The Triple-A bond insurer Financial Security Assurance Inc. (FSA) has guaranteed $1.4 billion of senior bonds to provide long-term funding for the privately operated Chicago Skyway. On June 30, 2006, this same joint-venture assumed responsibility for operating and maintaining the adjacent Indiana East–West Toll Road for $3.8 billion. The agreement between SCC and the city of Chicago marked the first time an existing toll road was moved from public to private operation in the United States.[18]

Move Illinois Construction

As part of the ISTHA's $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: Driving the Future, over $2 billion will be spent on improving the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90). Projects include rebuilding and widening the roadway to six lanes between I-39 and Randall Road, and eight lanes between Randall Road and the Kennedy Expressway. The inside shoulders will be widened for future transit opportunities, and active traffic management will be incorporated into the corridor.[19][20]

In addition, almost all of the crossroad bridges will be rebuilt and several interchanges will be reconfigured/expanded, including Irene Road, Genoa Road, IL 47, IL 25, Barrington Road, Roselle Road, Meacham Road, Elmhurst Road and Lee Street.[21] In addition, a future interchange is being planned at IL 23 in Marengo.[22]

Exit list

Exits along the Chicago Skyway are unnumbered.
County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Winnebago South Beloit 0.00 0.00 I-39 north / I-90 west – Madison Continuation into Wisconsin
0.29 0.47 1 US 51 north / IL 75 – South Beloit West end of US 51 overlap
Rockton 2.71 4.36 3 CR 9 (Rockton Road) – Roscoe Northwestern end of Jane Addams Memorial Tollway
3.60 5.79 South Beloit Toll Plaza
Rockford 8.94 14.39 8 IL 173 (West Lane Road) – Machesney Park
12.47 20.07 13 East Riverside Boulevard – Loves Park
15.76 25.36 16
US 20 Bus. (State Street)
17.40 28.00 17 I-39 south / US 51 south to US 20 – Bloomington West end of I-39 / US 51 overlap
Boone Belvidere 20.40 32.83 Irene Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
22.93 36.90 Belvidere Toll Plaza (westbound)
23.51 37.84 Belvidere Tollway Oasis
24.62 39.62 25 Belvidere–Genoa Road – Belvidere
McHenry Riley 37.39 60.17 Marengo Toll Plaza (eastbound)
Kane Hampshire 41.54 66.85 42 US 20 – Marengo, Hampshire
Huntley 46.02 74.06 46 IL 47 – Huntley, Woodstock, Elburn I-PASS Only
Elgin 51.78 83.33 52 Randall Road
53.42 85.97 Elgin Toll Plaza
54.22 87.26 54 IL 31
Cook 55.95 90.04 55 IL 25
Hoffman Estates 57.77 92.97 Beverly Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
59.31 95.45 IL 59 (Sutton Road)
61.81 99.47 58 Barrington Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
Schaumburg 65.19 104.91 61 Roselle Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
67.84 109.18 62 I-290 east (Eisenhower Expressway) / IL 53 – Chicago, West Suburbs, Northwest Suburbs
Arlington Heights 70.47 113.41 71 Arlington Heights Road
Des Plaines 73.25 117.88 73 Elmhurst Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
74.01 119.11 Des Plaines Tollway Oasis (closed)
75.80 121.99 75 IL 72 (Lee Street) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
Rosemont 76.75 123.52 Devon Avenue Toll Plaza (westbound)
77.03 123.97 77 IL 72 / Devon Avenue Westbound entrance only
78 I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) – O'Hare Airport
I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana, Milwaukee
Exit numbered westbound only; unnumbered exit to I-294 north
78.20 125.85 River Road Toll Plaza (eastbound)
Chicago 78.49 126.32 Southeastern end of Jane Addams Memorial Tollway
Northwestern end of Kennedy Expressway
79.28 127.59 79 IL 171 south (Cumberland Avenue) Signed as exits 79A (south) and 79B (north)
79.99 128.73 80 Canfield Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
80.84 130.10 81A IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)
81.14 130.58 81B Sayre Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
81.85 131.72 82A Nagle Avenue No westbound exit
82.09 132.11 82B Bryn Mawr Avenue Westbound exit only
82.31 132.47 82C Austin Avenue Eastbound exit only
82.79 133.24 83A Foster Road No eastbound exit
83.01 133.59 83B Central Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
83.71 134.72 84 Lawrence Avenue
I-94 west (Edens Expressway) – Milwaukee West end of I-94 overlap; westbound exit and eastbound entrance only; west end of express lanes
84.77 136.42 43C Montrose Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
85.03 136.84 43D Kostner Avenue Westbound exit only
44A IL 19 (Irving Park Road) / Keeler Avenue No westbound exit
44B IL 19 (Irving Park Road) / Pulaski Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
86.34 138.95 45A Addison Street
86.77 139.64 45B Kimball Avenue
87.08 140.14 45C Belmont Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
87.64 141.04 Sacramento Avenue Eastbound entrance only
87.79 141.28 46A California Avenue Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
87.96 141.56 46B Diversey Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
47A Western Avenue, Fullerton Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only from Western Avenue
89.08 143.36 47B Damen Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
89.52 144.07 48A Armitage Avenue
90.10 145.00 48B IL 64 (North Avenue)
90.66 145.90 49A Division Street
90.91 146.31 49B Augusta Boulevard, Milwaukee Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
91.40 147.09 50A Ogden Avenue Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
91.62 147.45 50B Ohio Street East end of express lanes
92.19 148.37 51A Lake Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
92.27 148.49 51B Randolph Street west
92.34 148.61 51C Washington Boulevard east Exits only; no entrances
92.44 148.77 51D Madison Street
92.53 148.91 51E Monroe Street Eastbound exit only
92.62 149.06 51F Adams Street west Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
92.71 149.20 51G Jackson Boulevard east Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
I-290 / IL 110 west (Eisenhower Expressway) – West Suburbs
Congress Parkway – Chicago Loop
Circle Interchange; signed as exits 51H (west) and 51I (east); southeastern end of Kennedy Expressway and northern end of Dan Ryan Expressway
93.42 150.34 52A Taylor Street, Roosevelt Road Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
93.57 150.59 52B Roosevelt Road, Taylor Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
94.22 151.63 52C 18th Street Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
I-55 south (Stevenson Expressway) – St. Louis
I-55 north (Stevenson Expressway) / Lake Shore Drive, Cermak Road – Chinatown
Signed as exits 53B (south) and 53C (north) westbound; Cermak Road access from westbound only; west end of express lanes
94.48 152.05 53A Canalport Avenue, Cermak Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
96.16 154.75 54 31st Street
96.45 155.22 55A 35th Street U.S. Cellular Field, Illinois Institute of Technology
96.98 156.07 55B Pershing Road
97.44 156.81 56A 43rd Street
97.97 157.67 56B 47th Street
98.88 159.13 57 Garfield Boulevard
99.50 160.13 58A 59th Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
100.00 160.93 58B 63rd Street Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
I-94 east (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana East end of I-94 overlap; east end of express lanes; western end of Chicago Skyway
100.33 161.47   State Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
101.42 163.22 St. Lawrence Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
101.78 163.80 73rd Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Stony Island Avenue to Lake Shore Drive Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
103.93 167.26 Jeffery Boulevard, 84th Street Eastbound entrance
104.28 167.82 87th Street Westbound exit
104.67 168.45 Chicago Skyway Toll Plaza
105.26 169.40 Anthony Avenue, 92nd Street Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge
107.82 173.52 US 12 / US 20 / US 41 (Indianapolis Boulevard) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
I-90 east / Indiana Toll Road east to I-80 / I-65 / I-94 – Toledo, Ohio Continuation into Indiana; eastern end of Chicago Skyway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

  • I-190 - a spur into O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
  • I-290 - a southwest dogleg left route accessing the west suburbs and heading east into downtown Chicago. Also known as the Eisenhower Expressway.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Illinois Technology Transfer Center" ( 
  2. ^ Samuel, Peter (June 29, 2005). "Skyway is Interstate-90 unless state withdraws reports - Feds". TOLLROADSnews. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ Mayer, Harold M.; Wade, Richard C. (1969). Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 442.  
  4. ^ "Cherry Valley Interchange Press Release". Nov 12, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
  5. ^ Staff. "Chicago Skyway - Tolls". Skyway Concession Company. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) -". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "N. W. Tollway Opens Aug. 20 at Ceremony". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 30, 1958. Retrieved April 18, 2010. 
  8. ^ "First tollway vehicle to be covered wagon". The Milwaukee Journal. August 11, 1958. Retrieved April 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ryan, Joseph (September 7, 2007). "Northwest Tollway renamed for reformer Addams". Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  10. ^ Illinois General Assembly (May 22, 2007). "Full text of HJR0019". Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  11. ^ Staff (2011) (PDF). Congestion Relief Program: 2011 Update (Report). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Staff. "Cherry Valley Interchange (I-90/39) Reconstruction and Reconfiguration" (PDF). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Foust, Hal (April 17, 1958). "A Great Day For Chicago! Skyway Open".  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Staff. "System Facilities". Chicago Area Transportation Study. Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  15. ^ McClendon, Dennis (2005). "Skyway". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  16. ^ Staff (2005). "Getting Around Illinois".  
  17. ^ Staff. "Chicago Skyway Rehab: Hydraulics Boost Productivity". Enerpac Company. Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Chicago privatizes Skyway toll road in $1.8 billion deal". Southern Illinoisian (Carbondale, IL). Associated Press. October 17, 2004. Retrieved March 4, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Transit on I-90" (PDF). Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Rebuilding and Widening Project. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ "A Smart, State-of-the-Art, 21st Century Corridor" (PDF). Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Rebuilding and Widening Project. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ "New and Improved Interchanges" (PDF). Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Rebuilding and Widening Project. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ Di Benedetto, Stephen. "Marengo Interchange Closer to Reality". Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL). Retrieved September 19, 2014. 

External links

  • Illinois Tollway official site
  • Official website of the Chicago Skyway
  • Chicago Department of Transportation
  • Description and history at Richard Carlson's Illinois Highways
  • Historic, Current & Average Travel Times For The Jane Addams Tollway
  • Best of Transportation Page
  • Chicago Skyway (I-90) at Steve Anderson's
  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. IL-145, "Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge"
  • Chicago Skyway High Bridge at Structurae
Interstate 90
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