Illinois Tollway

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Illinois is for sure one of the exciting US destinations for travelers. It has an impressive number of museums including presidential libraries and historic forts. The state is also home to the first McDonald’s and Route 66. It’s famous for its abolition of slavery and its role in the Underground Railroad. The most often visited city is of course Chicago boasting some of the state’s most notable museums and the Adler Planetarium. Now, that you know why to visit Illinois, time to explain Illinois Tollway and Illinois Tollway I-Pass.

What is the Illinois Tollway and how does it work?

The Illinois Tollway is a system of highways created to ease traffic congestion in the state. It’s actually a revenue bond-financed administrative agency of the State of Illinois. The agency doesn’t receive any state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. Toll and concession revenues fund its operations. Illinois Tollway maintains nearly 300 miles of interstate tollways. They are located in twelve counties in Northern Illinois. Among the others, it includes the Reagan Memorial Tollway, the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, and the Veterans Memorial Tollway. The Illinois Tollway collects tolls at both mainline and ramp toll plazas throughout the entire system.

Who owns the Illinois Tollway?

The administrative agency was opened in 1958 in the Chicago area. The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, also called ISTHA, owns it. The agency is responsible for building, operating, and maintaining toll roads in the state.

Illinois Tollway pay tolls

Illinois, with 294 miles of toll roads, is one of the most extensive toll networks in the United States. Here are the most important toll roads in Illinois:

  • The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway on Interstate 39 and Interstate 90. It connects Chicago with Rockford. The toll road is 76 miles (122 km) long. It gets you from Rockford O’Hare International Airport. Also, you can travel from Rockford or O’Hare International Airport to North Wisconsin. There are different toll plazas, including both manned and unmanned ones. The toll road was opened in 1958.

  • Illinois Tri-State Tollway on Interstate 94, Interstate 294, and Interstate 80. It connects the Wisconsin state line to South Holland. It provides direct access to almost all Chicago freeways (except Interstate 355). You can pay tolls at toll plazas located along the route. The Illinois Tri-State Tollway was built in the mid to late 1950s. The main idea behind the project was building a bypass of Chicago.

  • Chicago Skyway on Interstate 90 and Interstate 94. It connects Chicago with Indiana. It is 7.8 miles (12.6 km) long. The toll road was built in 1958. In 2005, Chicago Skyway became the first US privatized toll road.

  • The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway on Interstate 88. It also crosses Interstate 290 and Interstate 294 at Hillside. It connects cities like Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, Dixon, and Dekalb. The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway is 96 miles (154 km) long. It was built in 1958. You can pay tolls at toll plazas along the route.

  • The Veterans Memorial Tollway on Interstate 355. It connects the Western suburbs of Chicago with the Southern ones. The toll road stretches from New Lenox in Will County to Itasca in DuPage County. The Veterans Memorial Tollway passes through the cities like Lockport, Addison, and Lisle-Downers Grove. It is 32.5 miles (52.3 km) long. It was opened in 1989 as the North-South Tollway.

Illinois Tollway – how to pay

The easiest way to pay Illinois tolls is to use the E-ZPass electronic transponder tag. It allows you to pay tolls on toll roads and bridges without stopping. Also, every toll lane in the state accepts I-Pass. The system enables drivers to save up to 50% on tolls. Another option is Uproad – a mobile application that allows you to manage all toll payments from your mobile device. You can pay tolls in just a few clicks through your smartphone. Uproad also has a handy online toll calculator.

Illinois Tollway I-Pass

It’s an electronic toll collection system of electronic tags. You can install such a transponder tag in your windshield to zoom through electronic toll gantries. The I-Pass transponder tag can be used on toll roads that accept E-ZPass. When you order a transponder, you have to pay an initial $30. Apart from Illinois toll roads and bridges, you can use I-Pass on the Indiana Toll Road, the Chicago Skyway, and in 17 other states that use the E-ZPass system. I-Pass works in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and also portions of Florida. On top of the cost of the transponder ($30), there is also a refundable deposit of $10. You should also deposit another $20 towards prepaid tolls. There is a minimum I-Pass deposit of $20. There is an account auto-replenishment option that replenishes 10% of the average monthly usage or a minimum of $10. You can open an I-Pass account on the Illinois Tollway website or over the phone, in person, as well as at the customer service center. The installation process is very simple. You just need to place the tag on your windshield’s rearview mirror.

Jun 19, 2023


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