Sharing our suburban streets with this summer’s foxes

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun has been appointed to a newly formed panel that will provide input and guidance to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority as the agency’s staff develops a master plan to reconstruct the highway between Rosemont and Oak Lawn.

Paul Braun

Braun is one of 33 members, and nine Chicago-area mayors, named to the Central Tri-State Tollway Corridor Planning Council. The redevelopment of that section of the road – I-294 – is part of Move Illinois, the tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program.

The formation of the panel was announced Thursday.

“While the majority of the Central Tri-State Corridor Planning Council’s work will be planning activities for improvements to the mid-section of the I-294 tollway north of 95th Street, this work will obviously impact Southland residents’ use of the lower portion of the tollway,” Braun said Friday.

“As the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association’s representative to the Corridor Planning Council, I want make sure that the interests of our region are represented.”

The Corridor Planning Council will be asked to provide a final report and recommendations to the Illinois Tollway board of directors regarding its recommendations for the master planning process and vision for the corridor.

The panel includes representatives from several councils of mayors, Cook and DuPage counties, the Illinois Department of Transportation, as well as groups representing regional transit and transportation planning, economic development, commercial freight and environmental interests. An environmental working group will also be convened to provide input on environmental and livability matters in the corridor.

Nearly 22 miles long, the Central Tri-State Tollway Corridor is one of the busiest and most complex segments of the 286-mile tollway system, serving up to 185,000 daily vehicles. It connects five other interstates – the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), I-190, the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) – and serves as a main route to O’Hare International Airport.

 The Move Illinois program currently includes $1.7 billion for the Central Tri-State Tollway Project, with advance work starting as early as 2018 and reconstruction scheduled for 2020-2022. In addition to planning for roadway reconstruction, the master planning process will allow the Illinois Tollway to consider improvements to several major bridges and local interchanges, accommodations for commercial vehicles and transit.

It will also explore the addition of active traffic management similar to steps being taken as part of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Rebuilding and Widening Project.

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