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Tollway Presents $4 Billion Plan To Widen Tri-State, Cut Commute Times

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Tri-State drivers could see their commute times cut by as much as 240 hours a year, under a $4 billion plan going before the Illinois Tollway board later this week.

Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom said the plan would add one lane in each direction along a 22-mile stretch between Balmoral Avenue near O'Hare International Airport and 95th Street in Bridgeview.

"Construction work would begin in 2020, and the construction work would give back to the users in 2022. It's about a two-year construction project," he said.

The project also would add "flex lanes" on the inside shoulder for buses and emergency vehicles. So-called "SmartRoad" technology already used on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway would help officials determine the best use for flex lanes in real time.

Schillerstrom said the project will be funded without raising tolls, "because of lower-than-expected construction costs, also lower than-expected interest rates."

The Illinois Tollway board will consider the plan at Thursday's meeting in Downers Grove.

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