The Illinois Tollway is urging drivers to slow down and pay attention in construction work zones this Fourth of July holiday.
More than 4.7 vehicles are expected to travel the tollway system from Tuesday, July 3, through Thursday, July 5. The heaviest travel is expected on Tuesday, July 3, when nearly 1.9 million vehicles are projected to use the 294-mile system, officials say.
On an average day, statistics show, more than 1.6 million vehicles use the Illinois Tollway.
“With construction taking place throughout the tollway system, it’s vitally important for drivers entering work zones to slow down and eliminate any distractions so they can focus on safety,” says Illinois Tollway Executive Director Liz Gorman. “Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility. The actions drivers take when traveling through work zones can prevent accidents and save lives.”
Drivers should be prepared for sudden stops, changing traffic patterns, rough surfaces, uneven pavement and slower speeds when entering a work zone, even when workers aren’t present.
Fines for speeding in work zones are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for a second offense. The penalty for hitting a worker include a fine of up to $10,000 and 14 years in prison.
Most temporary maintenance and construction lane closures will be suspended from noon on Tuesday, July 3, through 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 5. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic. All work is weather dependent.
Here are some highlights:
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
· On I-294, southbound traffic between Grand Avenue and Franklin Street near Schiller Park is shifted.
· At 159th Street, traffic is shifted right in both directions. In addition, the ramps carrying traffic from eastbound 159th Street to northbound I-294 and from southbound I-294 to eastbound 159thStreet are closed with detours posted.
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
· Between I-290 and York Road, traffic is shifted in both directions. Westbound drivers must travel in the right lane on I-88 to access the cash side of the York Road Toll Plaza as well as the 22ndStreet exit ramp.
· Between Illinois Route 56 and Illinois Route 251, traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction in segments.
· At Annie Glidden Road, the ramp carrying traffic to eastbound I-88 from Annie Glidden Road is closed with a detour posted.
Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
· Between Butterfield Road and Army Trail Road, traffic is shifted to the right in both directions.
Safe phone zones now available
Drivers can safely and conveniently use their mobile devices for calling, texting, posting and accessing apps at “Safe Phone Zones” sponsored by GEICO.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. As part of the solution, through a sponsorship with GEICO, iStar Financial Inc. and the Illinois Tollway have designated six oases facilities on the Tollway system as Safe Phone Zones.
Need H.E.L.P.? Dial *999 to bring help to you.
Tollway customers can call *999 to get help from Tollway roadway maintenance crews or from Illinois State Police District 15. The service is available from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the Fourth of July holiday. The H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker is available online to help drivers who have requested roadside assistance to identify where trucks are along the road and when they are headed in their direction.
H.E.L.P. trucks and motorist aid patrols during remaining hours are ready to help stranded customers change tires, jump-start batteries, add coolant, dispense fuel, transport customers, move vehicles away from traffic and call for a tow truck. District 15 troopers also patrol the tollway system 24 hours a day, seven days a week, officials say.