What is the current status of the I-290 project?
In June of 2017 a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed by the FHWA that identified the HOT 3+ & EXP & HCT Alternative (also referred to as Alternative HOT 3+) as the Selected Alternative. This alternative consisted of adding one High Occupancy Toll (HOT) 3+ lane (three or more occupants per vehicle required for non-tolled use, or one/two occupants per vehicle paying a toll) in each direction between 25th Avenue and Austin Boulevard; conversion of one existing general purpose lane in each direction west of 25th Avenue and east of Austin Boulevard to HOT 3+ use; and provisions for express bus service and a high capacity transit extension. Based on an FHWA project Cost Estimate Review in June of 2017, the construction cost of the Selected Alternative was estimated at $3.2 billion.
As the proposed improvement is not currently included in Department’s FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program and continues to be one of several regional expressway corridors competing for limited available state and federal funding, the Department must now consider more sustainable solutions for addressing the reconstruction needs of this facility. Supplemental alternatives analysis and environmental studies for the I-290 corridor will be performed to evaluate additional tolling and lane management alternatives while utilizing the same general geometry and footprint as the previously identified HOT 3+ alternative. The study will develop and evaluate additional toll and congestion priced alternatives, along with the HOT 3+ alternative, with the goal of identifying a preferred alternative that meets the transportation needs while minimizing the impacts to the environment.
As with the original I-290 study, the public outreach program will be extensive and will follow the Department's Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) policy. By definition, this policy provides an interdisciplinary approach that seeks effective, multi-modal transportation solutions by working with stakeholders to develop, build, and maintain cost effective transportation facilities that fit into and reflect the project's surroundings - its "context."
Public involvement activities will include public meetings and numerous smaller engagements with the stakeholders. All stakeholder input will be considered in shaping a sustainable solution that meets the various transportation needs and initiatives in the corridor. A Corridor Advisory Group (CAG), like the one convened for the previous I-290 study, will be reestablished and consist of the Mayors/Presidents from communities, officials from Cook and DuPage Counties, and other transportation agencies. As before, the CAG will serve an important advisory role to consider, discuss and provide valuable input into the identification and evaluation of alternatives.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Brenda Alicea, Consultant Studies Unit Head, at (847) 705-4107.