Update on the Tri-State
The Tollway Authority is actively considering plans to widen I-294. Originally constructed in 1958, the Central Tri-State included two lanes in both directions from 95th Street to the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) and three lanes from I-55 to Balmoral Avenue. In 1972, the southern section was widened from two to three lanes in both directions, and in 1992, a fourth lane was added in both directions along the entire stretch from 95th Street to Balmoral Avenue. The result of this construction is a patchwork of pavement types and age in varying need of repair. the reconstruction woudl add one or two lanes in each direction and would have a negative impact on both resudential and public properties in Hinsdale. the Tollway Authority is in the final stages of its study and anticipates identifying the preferred alternitive within the next six months. Even though actual funding and construction may still be years away, the time is now for our community to engage the Tollway Authority in shaping how the project is integrated into our local context.
The Tollway's Plans
The Tollway has not released any final plans for the Village to consider to understand the true impact. The Village knows from minutes of the Tollway Authority's April 21, 2016 Customer Service and Planning Committee Meeting the following: Central Tri-State (I-294) Corridor Planning Council Update: Executive Director Bedalov introduced Rocco Zucchero, Deputy Chief of Engineering for Planning, to provide for the Committee an update on the Central Tri-State (I-294) Corridor Planning Council and master plan. See attached presentation. Chairman Schillerstrom highlighted that the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) reconstruction is an important and unique opportunity for the Tollway. He suggested that to inform decision-making, the master plan process should provide a comprehensive examination of financially viable options, including ones which are unconstrained by current budgets and infrastructure. He called for a broad “60 year” vision which considers forward-thinking and innovative solutions to improve travel reliability, performance and access of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) corridor, and which can best enhance economic growth in the region. He additionally requested that rather than presenting the Committee a completed master plan, staff should periodically present drafts or major element designs to the Committee for consideration, as they are developed. Mr. Zucchero confirmed that a spectrum of approaches to the reconstruction project will be examined and developed for Committee consideration.
And at the November 12, 2015 Customer Service and Planning Committee Meeting: Director Sweeney asked, given the breadth of challenges identified on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294), whether sufficient resources have been allocated for its reconstruction. Mr. Zucchero responded that the $1.7 billion currently budgeted within the Move Illinois Program for the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) reconstruction provides for removal and replacement in kind of the existing four lanes. Directors and staff then discussed potential elements and challenges which might be addressed if taking a long term “once in 60 years” approach to the reconstruction project, including roadway widening and related storm water management, improvements to the Mile-Long Bridge (beyond re-decking), significant issues related to interchanges and access, and the use of technology to ensure maximum utility of infrastructure along the corridor. Chairman Schillerstrom highlighted that the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) reconstruction is an important opportunity for the Tollway. He requested confirmation that the master plan process is not limited and will examine and analyze costs associated with a broad vision that accounts for future demand and which considers forward-thinking and innovative solutions to improve travel reliability, performance and access of the Central Tri-State Tollway corridor to support economic growth in the region. Mr. Zucchero confirmed. Executive Director Bedalov added that the master plan process has been initiated earlier than planned specifically to allow additional time for a comprehensive examination of financially viable solutions.
Other features under consideration include reconstruction of the BNSF railroad.
What's at Stake?
The construction of I-294 through the Village of Hinsdale has made a lasting imprint on the community. What happens now, with the most significant reconstruction of this stretch of I-294 since this area of the roadway was built, will also have a similar long-term impact on our community - even if not as dramatic as the original construction.
With the Tollway focused on features solely related to congestion relief, the Village must take on the role of encouraging a new design that has minimal impact on the residents of the community.
Seizing the Opportunity
The Customer Service and Planning Committee (CSP) promotes the development and implementation of information technology solutions critical to providing quality customer service and revenue generation. The Committee reviews technology strategies and business processes for collecting tolls, violation enforcement and customer service. In addition, the Committee provides the Board with advice on the strategic direction and planning of infrastructure investments at the conceptual stage, and recommends direction for long-term strategic planning for Tollway infrastructure projects and other programs.
The Village has an opportunity to provide input to the Tollway prior to the final decision being made. All CSP meetings allow time for public discussion.
The Illinois State Tollway Authority has rescheduled the upcoming meeting date for the Customer Service and Planning Committee will meet Monday, March 13, 2017 and the Tollway Board will meet on Thursday, March 23, 2017. Attendance at both meetings is encouraged. Again, time is made available at these meetings for public discussion. Click here for more meeting information.
What You Can Do
Stay informed and ask questions...
- Check this webpage for updates
- Sign up for Village enews,
- Visit the Tollway’s I-294 project website
- Tell us what you think. Email questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fill out the form below to send your comments to the Governor's Office, IL State Tollway and the Village of Hinsdale. Or write to: Mr. Robert Schillerstrom, Chair Illinois State Toll Highway Authority 2700 Ogden Avenue Downers Grove, Illinois 60515
Local Public Discussions
Specific issues related to the I-294 reconstruction project have been subjects of Village Board special meetings:
First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Tollway Advisory Committee March, 9, 2017. To join, please email email@example.com
Village Board Meeting February 27, 2017
March 15, 2017 - The Tollway Authority's Finance Administration and Operations Committee held a meeting at 9:30am. Click here to view the notice and agenda.
March 13, 2017 - The Tollway Authority's Customer Service and Planning Committee held a meeting at 10:30am. Click here to view the notice and agenda and here to view the video.
March 9, 2017 - A meeting was held at Hinsdale Middle School to establish the Ad Hoc Tollway Advisory Committee to oppose the potential widening of I-294. If you are interested in joining, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
February 27, 2017 - An informational community meeting was held to raise community awareness and discuss the Tollway Authority's potential expansion project. No action was taken by the Village Board at this meeting. Click here to view the presentation , here for the Tri-State congestion document, and here to watch the video.
February 22, 2017 - A Press Release was issued regarding an informational community meeting to be held on February 27, 2017.
February 9, 2017 - Village Letter to Community published in Hinsdalean Newspaper.
February 6, 2017 - President Cauley met with Tollway Authority Chairman Schillerstrom. Chairman Schillerstrom stated that no final decision has been made, but a final decision will be made within six months. Schillerstrom indicated that the final decision will most likely include widening of I-294 through Hinsdale.
December 2016 - President Cauley, Trustee LaPlaca and Village Staff met with the Tollway Authority and it became clear that the Tollway Authority was very far along in its discussions with BNSF, as they presented a map identifying areas for easements that are needed from the Village to reconstruct bridge. President Cauley stateed that the Village will not authorize/approve any easements not knowing what the final plan is for Tollway.
November 2016 - Village Officials met with the Tollway Authority regarding the need for easements from the Village for reconstruction of BNSF Bridge. Tollway Authority disclosed that a new BNSF Bridge will be built to accommodate up to six lanes in each direction.
November 2016 - Tollway Authority conducted sound measurements in the Woodlands.
April 2016 - Tollway Authority acknowledged that the existing BNSF bridge was in good condition relative to other infrastructure along the route, which caused staff to question the reason for the Tollway Authority’s interest in replacing the BNSF Bridge. Staff deduced it was likely that the Tollway Authority was contemplating replacement primarily to allow widening of the roadway. However, the Tollway Authority could not confirm or deny that widening would occur. The Tollway Authority said no plans were final and that it would meet with the Village in the Fall 2016 to provide a status. Click here to access an article published by the Daily Herald.
December 2014 - The Tollway Authority developed a Master Plan Vision identifying congestion as an issue. While the possibility of widening I-294 was mentioned, and at this point it was just one of several possibilities. Since then, Village officials have been staying abreast of activities related to the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) reconstruction. The initial focus of the interaction with the Tollway Authority was on drainage. The Tollway Authority also discussed gaining access to Peirce and Veeck Park in the event that the BNSF Bridge needed to be replaced as part of the Tollway Authority project.
Contact and Information about the Tollway Authority Board
The Illinois Tollway Authority is responsible for providing and promoting a safe and effient system of highways while ensuring the highest possible level of service to their customers. The Illnois Tollway Authority is funded through toll and concession revenues, not through state or federal tax dollars. Click here for the Illinois State Statute that allows for the creation of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority ((
605 ILCS 10/3)
(from Ch. 121, par. 100-3)). For more information, click here for the Illinois Tollway website.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did the Village first know about the Tollway Authority’s proposed plans?
Tollway officials began meeting with the Village in 2015. However, it was not until November 2016 and December 2016 that it became evident that the Tollway plans included potential widening through Hinsdale. The Village met with Tollway Chairman Robert Schillerstrom to review its understanding of the potential project on February 6, 2017. After Chairman Schillerstrom said he could not say that I-294 would not be widened, Village officials planned a public information meeting for February 27.
Did the Village respond to Mr. Schillerstrom’s statement about potential widening?
In response to potential widening the Village proposed the following to Mr. Schillerstrom:
- Do not widen I-294 at all. Mr. Schillerstrom’s response was, in effect, that was not an option.
- Start the widening of I-294 north of Hinsdale. Mr. Schillerstrom responded that was not a practical solution.
- Move the center line of I-294 through Hinsdale to the east, because there are fewer residences and parks on the Western Springs side of I-294. Mr. Schillerstrom said that was a possibility and would look into it.
- Village President Tom Cauley asked Mr. Schillerstrom if there were other options. Mr. Schillerstrom responded that he could not think of any.
- The Village described the devastating effect widening I-294 into Hinsdale would have on residential property, Village parks and the Hinsdale Oasis. Mr. Schillerstrom’s only response was “I know there will be a lot of unhappy people.”
Who sits on the Tollway Authority Board and how does it derive its authority?
The State of Illinois through 605 ILCS 10 Toll Highway Act creates the administrative agency of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. The Tollway Authority has an 11-member board, including Governor Bruce Rauner and Secretary of Transportation Randall S. Blankenhorn, who serve as ex-officio members. The Chairman and Directors are appointed by the Governor and serve four-year terms; no more than five of the members may be from one political party. The Board of Directors sets policy for the operation, maintenance and construction of the roadways.
What are the issues the Tollway is trying to address?
The Tollway has identified congestion, access, flooding and freight as high priorities that need to be addressed as part of this project.
When will the potential construction start?
The final plans for the I-294 project are not known. The timelines below were taken from the Tollway website. The timelines clearly show that key decisions will be made in 2017. The purpose of the information campaign is so that the residents can voice their concerns prior to any final action being taken by the Tollway Authority.
What is the impact to homeowners?
If I-294 is expanded, each lane added could potentially move the existing sound wall an additional 12 to 15 feet closer toward the homes of Hinsdale residents and potentially eliminate many backyards.
What is the impact to the parks?
The potential I-294 expansion could also eliminate valuable park space in Peirce, Veeck, Woodland and Brook parks as the sound wall moving 12 to 15 feet west potentially renders the parks unusable for up to three years due to construction adversely impacting the baseball, softball, soccer and football fields.
BNSF Reconstruction: temporary train tracks built to accommodate the BNSF train traffic while the railroad bridge is being rebuilt to accommodate the expansion of up to six lanes of traffic could make much of Veeck Park unusable.
What is the impact to the environment?
Adding lanes to the I-294 could increase the noise levels due to increased truck and vehicle traffic as adding capacity to highways actually generates additional travel increasing the noise and air pollution.
What is the impact to the Village revenues?
The potential I-294 expansion would result in the loss of the tax revenue generated at the Hinsdale Oasis of approximately $550,000 in revenues (representing about 11% of the Village’s combined Sales Tax and Food and Beverage Tax receipts). Loss of that revenue could jeopardize the Village’s operating budget needed to fix the Village roads and sewers.
Why can’t Hinsdale say “no” and stop any plans the Tollway proposes that would adversely impact Hinsdale?
The Tollway Authority has the ability to use Eminent Domain to initiate “quick take” or condemnation procedures. Generally, the Tollway Authority also has the authority to take the land, even if the land is being used by the municipality. All that is required is approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission.
How can the Tollway take land and move sound walls without Hinsdale’s permission?
The Tollway Authority has suggested that the goal of any potential expansion would be to use its easements or right of way (ROW). However, many of the Tollway’s easements and ROWs are very close to Hinsdale homes and parks.
Can the Village sue the Tollway to stop their plans?
While the Village has researched this issue, the Village is not aware of any viable legal claim it can bring against the Tollway under the Eminent Domain Act.
Can the Village sue the Tollway Authority on behalf of residents whose property may have lost value as a result of the Tollway expansion?
No, as such a lawsuit would violate the Illinois Constitution. The Village cannot use public funds for a private purpose. Such a lawsuit would only impact a few individual residents for their own personal property values, and not the public at large.
- 3/29/17 Corridor Concept Study of I-294
- 3/17/17 Press Release
- 3/14/17 Tribune Article
- 3/13/17 Press Release
- 3/13/17 Daily Herald Article
- 3/13/17 Tollway Frequently Asked Questions
- 3/10/17 Tribune Article
- 3/8/17 Press Release regarding Ad Hoc Tollway Advisory Committee
- 3/7/17 Tollway Resolution
- 2/27/17 Meeting Agenda and Video
- 2/27/17 Powerpoint at Village Informational Meeting
- 2/23/17 Tollway Board Meeting Video
- 2/22/17 Press Release regarding 2/27/17 Village Informational Meeting
- 2/16/17 Tollway Customer Service and Planning Committee Meeting Video
- 2/15/17 Tollway Finance Administration and Operations Committee Meeting Video
- 2/15/17 Tollway Diversity and Inclusion Committee Meeting Video
- 2/7/17 Letter from Village President
- 4/21/16 Daily Herald Article
- 4/21/16 Central Tri-State (I-294) Corridor Planning Council and Master Plan
- 4/21/16 Illinois State Tollway Authority Customer Service and Planning Committee Meeting minutes
- 11/12/15 Customer Service and Planning Committee Minutes