Illinois Tollway urges motorists not to use mobile devices

Illinois Tollway urges motorists not to use mobile devices
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Illinois Tollway urges motorists not to use mobile devices

More than 9.5 million vehicles expected on the Tollway system over Fourth of July holiday

The Illinois Tollway encourages drivers to make safety a top priority this Fourth of July holiday by avoiding distracted driving and to remember that, effective July 1, the use of any hand-held electronic communications device while driving is considered a moving violation.

“We want everyone to drive responsibly on our roadways so they can get to their holiday destinations safely,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “We encourage drivers to stop by one of our oases facilities to safely and conveniently use their mobile devices for calling, texting, posting and accessing apps.”

The Tollway expects more than 9.5 million vehicles to travel the Tollway system this Fourth of July holiday from Wednesday, July 3, through Monday, July 8. The heaviest travel is expected on Wednesday, July 3, when nearly 1.9 million vehicles are projected to use the 294-mile Tollway system. On an average day, more than 1.6 million vehicles use the Illinois Tollway.

The Circle Interchange (officially the Jane Byrne Interchange) is a major freeway interchange near downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the junction between the Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways (Interstate 90/Interstate 94 [I-90/I-94] and I-290), and Congress Parkway. In a dedication ceremony held on August 29, 2014, this interchange was renamed in honor of former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne (1979–1983).

The Circle Interchange (officially the Jane Byrne Interchange) is a major freeway interchange near downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the junction between the Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways (Interstate 90/Interstate 94 [I-90/I-94] and I-290), and Congress Parkway. In a dedication ceremony held on August 29, 2014, this interchange was renamed in honor of former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne (1979–1983).

Drivers are reminded to Drop It and Drive. It is illegal to use a hand-held electronic communications device when driving in Illinois and, starting July 1, anyone using a cellphone, tablet or laptop computer while driving in Illinois risks receiving a moving violation. Three or more moving violations can ultimately lead to a driver’s license suspension. Some form of driver distraction involving a cellphone was responsible for nearly 11,800 crashes in Illinois from 2013 to 2017, which resulted in 79 fatalities.

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Drivers can stop by any of the six Tollway oases facilities to safely and conveniently use their mobile devices for calling, texting, posting and accessing apps. There are four oases locations on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80): Lake Forest, O’Hare, Hinsdale and the Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland, as well as on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere and on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb. Oases offer drivers free Wi-Fi and the chance to take a break, grab a snack and refuel.

Also, drivers taking the Tollway system this Fourth of July weekend can use Waze for hands-free navigation to get updates on current real-time traffic and roadway conditions on their routes. The Tollway provides Waze with information on lane blockages, roadway incidents and the location of H.E.L.P. trucks.

Take I-PASS with You

If heading out of state this Fourth of July holiday, remember to take your I-PASS with you. I-PASS can be used to pay tolls on the Illinois Tollway system and in other states that accept E-ZPass, including Indiana and 15 other states that are part of the E-ZPass network.

Holiday Work Zones

To accommodate holiday travel on the Illinois Tollway, construction activity will be restricted to better serve Tollway customers. Most temporary maintenance and construction lane closures will be suspended from noon on Wednesday, July 3, through 9 a.m. on Monday, July 8. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule. Areas where ongoing work zones may impact traffic include:

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

  • On I-94, traffic in both directions between Half Day Road and the Edens Spur is reduced to four lanes and shifted.
  • On the Edens Spur, between Pfingsten Road and the Edens Expressway, traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction.
  • At the 159th Street Interchange, the ramps carrying traffic from westbound 159th Street to southbound I-294 and from northbound I-294 to westbound 159th Street are closed with posted detours.

Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)

  • Between I-290 and York Road, traffic is shifted in both directions and access to I-290, Mannheim Road and I-294 is restricted in certain lanes, so drivers need to pay attention to construction signage.

Illinois State Police Patrolling Work Zones

The Illinois State Police District 15 will focused on enforcing fatal four violations, including driving under the influence, speeding, distracted driving and not wearing seat belts. In addition, they will be stepping up enforcement construction work zones throughout the holiday weekend. Work zone speed limits are enforced 24/7, regardless if workers are present.

About the Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 294 miles of roadways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

Click here to listen to Ray's Political Podcast. 

Hanania's columns are archived on his personal website at RayHanania.com. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.
Ray Hanania

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