Expect Delays: 17.6 Million Holiday Drivers — Friday Is Heaviest Travel Day

Here's a quick guide to holiday travel on Illinois tollways: the heaviest travel days, where there's construction and how to get a free cup of coffee.

The Illinois Tollway expects 17.6 million vehicles will use the Tollway system between Friday, Dec. 20, and Thursday, Jan. 2, to travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The heaviest travel is anticipated on Friday, Dec. 20, when the Tollway expects nearly 1.6 million vehicles to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway.

Travelers can get a complimentary cup of coffee at 7-Eleven stores and McDonald’s restaurants located at Illinois Tollway oases. Complimentary coffee will be served on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve at the following times and locations:


Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)

  • Des Plaines Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • Belvidere Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)


Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)

  • Lake Forest Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • O’Hare Oasis (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • Hinsdale Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.)

Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)

  • DeKalb Oasis (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)


The Tollway oases cater to more than 12 million annual visitors and provide access to retail shops, restaurants, spacious food courts, ample seating featuring panoramic windows, kid-friendly spaces and a spot for talking and texting, cellular and Wi-Fi services.


Lane Closures Suspended

To accommodate increased holiday travel, the Tollway will suspend all temporary maintenance and construction lane closures from noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24, until 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, and from noon on Tuesday, Dec.  31, until 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic. 

Areas where work zones will continue during the holiday include:

Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)

  • Between I-57 and Kedzie Avenue, traffic in both directions is reduced to three lanes and shifted right for construction of the new I-294/I-57 Interchange.

Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)

  • Between I-39 in Rockford and the Elgin Toll Plaza, construction is continuing and a work zone speed limit remains in place.
  • Westbound traffic between Irene Road near Belvidere and I-39 is currently reduced from two lanes to one lane and an alternate route is posted.
  • At the Marengo Toll Plaza, eastbound traffic is shifted to the right and reduced to one open road tolling lane; an I-PASS Only lane is available in the cash plaza for I-PASS users.
  • Between Randall Road and the Elgin Toll Plaza, traffic is shifted to the right and reduced to two lanes. Traffic entering eastbound I-90 from Randall Road must merge with mainline I-90 traffic.


Work zone speed limits are in effect 24/7 in all construction zones where lanes are reduced, shifted or traffic is traveling on a shoulder, whether or not workers are present. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375.


Tollway Travel Tips

The Illinois Tollway offers the following tips to enhance travel on our roadways:

Know Before You Go - Get the latest travel information, including:

www.illinoistollway.com – Construction/Planning section and Tollway Trip Calculator and real-time roadway incident information


Need Help?  Dial *999 - If your vehicle becomes disabled, park safely on the shoulder, raise your hood and remain in your vehicle.  Dial *999 and assistance will be dispatched to your location.

SOURCE: Illinois Tollway



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