Tri-State Tollway

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Tri-State Tollway
Tri-State Tollway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by ISTHA
Length: 78 mi[1] (126 km)
Existed: Mid to late 1950s – present

I-80 from South Holland to Hazel Crest

I-294 from South Holland to Northbrook

I-94 from Northbrook to Zion

I-41 / US 41 through Zion
Major junctions
South end: I-80 / I-94 / US 6 / IL 83 / IL 394 in South Holland
North end: I-41 / I-94 / US 41 in Zion
Highway system

The Tri-State Tollway is a U.S. toll road maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA) in northeastern Illinois which is considered one of the most heavily traveled highways in the country (according to the IBTTA, the tollway is the nation's 4th busiest toll road[2]). It is actually a combination of three different Interstates:

The segment containing I-294 is 53 miles (85 km) long; in total, the Tri-State Tollway is actually about 78 miles (126 km) long. Only the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway is longer. Despite its name, the Tri-State Tollway does not enter either Indiana or Wisconsin. On the Indiana side, the Tri-State Tollway ends three miles (4.8 km) away from the Indiana border and continues as the Kingery Expressway; however both the Kingery and the Indiana portion, which was later named the Borman Expressway, were known as the Tri-State Highway before the tollway was completed. On the Wisconsin side, the toll road ends just before the border at US 41 and Russell Road, although ISTHA maintenance continues to the state line.[3][4]


Northbound Interstate 294 in Alsip, one-half mile south of 127th Street.
  • Oasesrest area terminology for the ISTHA toll roads which contain commercial restaurants, tourist information and service stations. Most within the Chicago area are built over the road, with others in two separate units along each side of the highway.
  • Pay-as-you-go tolling—the Tri-State has a barrier toll system where tolls are collected at different intervals along the road rather than at most entrances and exit ramps, though some of the more popular exits and entrances have toll barriers.
  • Open road tolling—all sections of the road outside of exit and entrance ramps allow automatic collection of tolls via I-Pass (compatible with E-ZPass) via ORT gantries at highway speeds.
  • Thornton Quarry—about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of the highway crosses a quarry being converted into a large lake for overflow storm water. Currently, the road's elevation over the floor of the quarry is up to 100 feet (30 m) deep on both sides of the highway.


The Tri-State Tollway near Illinois Route 176 in Lake Bluff

Portions of the Tri-State Tollway are referred to in somewhat archaic language during traffic reports and casual conversation. The following are the most common, from south to north:

  • Thornton Quarry—on I-80/294 just east of Halsted Street, the bridge over the aforementioned Thornton Quarry.
  • Mile-Long Bridge—on I-294 between I-55 and La Grange Road, the bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Des Plaines River, a large portion of the UPS transmodal facility, a few rail lines, and some Commonwealth Edison power lines.
  • Grand Avenue Curve—the curve immediately south of the Bensenville Bridge (see below). This portion of the tollway functions as a long S-curve, causing delays due to limited visibility beyond both curves.
  • Bensenville Bridge—on I-294 just south of O'Hare, the bridge over the Metra Milwaukee District West line and Mannheim Road (US 12/US 45).


Tri-State Tollway in Glenview following late 2000s widening/rebuild, two miles south of Willow Road.

The Tri-State Tollway was built in the mid- to late 1950s as a bypass of Chicago, as the Indiana Toll RoadChicago Skyway (opened in 1956) ran towards downtown. The first section opened August 28, 1958, running from Wisconsin south to and east along the Edens Spur. The rest of the road, from the Edens Spur south to the Calumet Expressway and Kingery Expressway, opened December 23 of the same year. It was at first marked as Toll US 41, which continued east on the Kingery Expressway (now I-80/I-94) to Calumet Avenue (US 41) in Hammond, Indiana, and ended at the north end of the Tollway, where it merges with US 41. It was also marked as Toll US 30 between its south end (the Calumet Expressway was Alt. US 30) and the East–West Tollway. In 1959 the tollway was designated as parts of I-94 and I-294, and the short concurrency with I-80 was assigned.

Between 1992 and 1993, the cental Tri-State was widened from I-90/Balmoral Avenue to 95th Street.[5]

In 1998, the authority removed the entire multilane Deerfield Toll Plaza on the Tri-State, then considered one of the worst snags on the tollway system. To make up for the lost tolls, ISTHA built the Huehl Road Toll Plaza on the Edens Spur to charge traffic that followed I-94 into Chicago. In addition, tolls at the Waukegan Toll Plaza were increased, and additional toll plazas built on exits south of Deerfield at Lake–Cook Road, Willow Road and Golf Road (Illinois Route 58, IL 58). Toll collection facilities were also added to entrance ramps to the northbound Tri-State at those points.

From 2005 and lasting through 2009, the remainder of the Tri-State Tollway was rebuilt and widened to eight lanes, from I-90/Balmoral Avenue north to just shy of the Wisconsin state line and from 95th street south to IL 394.[6]

As of December 30, 2009, Clearview font signage was installed on the tollway system, and the mileposts of the I-94 portion of the Tri-State Tollway and Edens Spur no longer use the original milepost signage from IL 394 and I-80. Milepost signs north of Lake–Cook Road now use I-94's mileage from south of the Wisconsin state line. For example, I-294 going north has milepost numbers going up to mile 53. I-294 mile 53 becomes I-94 mile 25 going north with the milepost numbers going down. Milepost numbers are now visible every 14 mile (0.40 km), as opposed to the previous signage at 12-mile (0.80 km) intervals.[7]

I-355 is the only Chicago area interstate that cannot be directly accessed from the Tri-State Tollway.

Move Illinois Program construction[edit]

As part of the $12 billion Move Illinois capital program, ISTHA and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are partnering to construct a new, all-electronic interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway to I-57. In 2014, ISTHA completed the primary interchange connections between I-294 and I-57 and at 147th Street. The remaining ramps to complete the interchange will be completed in 2023–24.[8]

In addition, ISTHA will rebuild the remaining portions of the Tri-State Tollway not rebuilt as part of the Congestion Relief Program. This includes the central Tri-State Tollway between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue as well as the Edens Spur.[9] When the central Tri-State is rebuilt, it could be widened to five lanes in each direction, get wider shoulders for buses and get active traffic management features that are currently being added to the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway as part of its rebuilding and widening project.[10][11]

Exit list[edit]

County Location mi[1][12][a] km Exit Destinations Notes
Cook South Holland 0.00 0.00 0
I-80 east / I-94 east – Indiana
I-94 west / IL 394 south – Chicago, Danville

I-294 begins
Southern terminus of the tollway and I-294; southbound exit and northbound entrance to I-94 west and IL 394 south
1.00 1.61 Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis
East Hazel Crest 3.00 4.83 2 IL 1 (Halsted Street) Signed as exit 2A (north) and exit 2B (south)
4.00 6.44 4 Dixie Highway Northbound entrance; southbound exit from I-80
Hazel Crest 5.00 8.05 5 I-80 west to I-57 – Iowa Northern terminus of concurrency with I-80; tolled interchange
6.00 9.66 163rd Street Toll Plaza
Markham 6.50 10.46 6 US 6 (159th Street) Signed as exit 6A (east) and exit 6B (west)
Blue Island 8.00 12.87 7 I-57 south – Memphis Southbound exit northbound entrance only; formerly exit 8; full interchange opening 2023–24; Exit 349 on I-57
8 IL 83 (147th Street) Southbound exit northbound entrance; formerly exit 9; opened October 25, 2014
Alsip 12.00 19.31 12 IL 50 (Cicero Avenue) / 127th Street (IL 83) Signed as exit 12A (south) and exit 12B (north) northbound
Hickory Hills 17.50 28.16 17 US 12 (95th Street) / US 20 / 76th Avenue Signed as exit 17A (east) and exit 17B (west) southbound; no northbound signage for 76th Avenue
19.50 31.38 83rd Street Toll Plaza (northbound)
20.00 32.19 82nd Street Toll Plaza (southbound)
Justice 21.00 33.80 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (LaGrange Road) / IL 171 (Archer Avenue) Southbound entrance only
Des Plaines River Mile-Long Bridge
Hodgkins 22.00 35.41 22 75th Street / Willow Springs Road (10800 West) Southbound exit and northbound entrance ramp tolls
Indian Head Park 23.00 37.01 23 I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) / Wolf Road – Chicago, St. Louis Signed as Exit 23A (I-55 north) and Exit 23B (Wolf Road & I-55 south); no southbound entrance from I-55 south; exit 277B on I-55
24.00 38.62 I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) / Joliet Road – Chicago, St. Louis Southbound exit and northbound entrance; tolled interchange; exit 277A on I-55
Hinsdale 25.00 40.23 Hinsdale Oasis
Western Springs 28.00 45.06 27 US 34 (Ogden Avenue) Signed as exits 27A (east) and 27B (west)
Hillside 29.00 46.67 29
I-88 west (Tollway) – Aurora
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
29.50 47.48 29 Cermak Road (22nd Street) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
30.00 48.28 Cermak Road Toll Plaza
30.50 49.08 30 IL 38 (Roosevelt Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 30A (east) and 30B (west)
31.00 49.89 31 NB: I-290 east (Eisenhower Expressway) – Chicago
I-88 west (Tollway / IL 110) – Aurora
Exit 31A southbound
32.00 51.50 31 I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway / IL 110) – Chicago, Rockford North-to-west and south-to-east access only; exit 31B southbound; exit 15A on I-290
Berkeley 34.00 54.72 33 I-290 west (Eisenhower Expressway) to US 20 / IL 64 – Rockford Southbound exit; northbound exit from US 20 (Lake Street)
Franklin Park 38.00 61.16 O'Hare Oasis
38.50 61.96 38 IL 19 (Irving Park Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance; signed as exits 38A (east) and 38B (west)
39.00 62.76 Irving Park Toll Plaza (southbound)
39.50 63.57 39 Balmoral Avenue I-Pass only interchange; opened December 13, 2011;[13] northbound exit and southbound entrance
Rosemont 40.00 64.37 40A I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) / River Road – O'Hare Signed as exit 40 northbound; exits 1C–D on I-190
41.00 65.98 40B
I-90 (Tollway / Kennedy Expressway) – Chicago, Rockford
Signed as exit 40 northbound
Park Ridge 42.00 67.59 Touhy Avenue Toll Plaza (northbound)
42.00 67.59 42 Touhy Avenue Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Des Plaines 44.50 71.62 44 US 14 (Dempster Street) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
45.00 72.42 45 IL 58 (Golf Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance; tolled interchange
Glenview 49.00 78.86 48 Willow Road Southbound exit and northbound entrance ramp tolls
Northbrook 52 Lake–Cook Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
25.50 41.04
I-94 east (Edens Expressway) – Chicago

I-294 ends
Northern terminus of I-294; southbound exit and northbound entrance; southern end of I-94 concurrency
city line
city line
25.25 40.64 25 Lake–Cook Road Southbound exit and northbound entrance; tolled interchange
Lake Deerfield 24.00 38.62 24 Deerfield Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Lincolnshire 22.00 35.41 21 IL 22 (Half Day Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance ramp tolls
Lake Forest 19.00 30.58 19 IL 60 (Town Line Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance ramp tolls
18.00 28.97 Lake Forest Oasis
Lake Bluff 16.00 25.75 16 IL 176 (Rockland Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
North Chicago 14.00 22.53 13 IL 137 (Buckley Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance ramp tolls
Gurnee 11.00 17.70 11 IL 120 (Belvidere Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
10.00 16.09 10 IL 21 (Milwaukee Avenue) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
8.50 13.68 8 IL 132 (Grand Avenue) Cloverleaf interchange
Wadsworth 5.00 8.05 Waukegan Toll Plaza
Zion 2.50 4.02 2 IL 173 (Rosecrans Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
0.96 1.54 1B US 41 south – Waukegan

I-41 begins
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.20 0.32 1A CR A1 (Russell Road) Signed as exit 1 northbound
0.00 0.00 I-94 west / I-41 north – Milwaukee Continuation into Wisconsin
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tollway maps do not reflect the renumbering of the I-94 sections, noted in the preceding section of text.


  1. ^ a b System Map (Map). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. November 2007. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  2. ^ Cauchon, Dennis (January 27, 2008). "Drivers to See Major Toll Hikes". USAToday. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Minutes of the Regular Meeting". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. May 31, 2007. Intergovernmental Agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for routine day-to-day roadway maintenance on I-94 from Russell Road north to the Wisconsin line. 
  4. ^ "North Tri-State Tollway (I-294/94) Rebuild & Widen Project". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved February 2008. The section between Russell Road and the Wisconsin state line will be resurfaced. 
  5. ^ Washburn, Gary. "Tri-State Users Get Holiday Gift, But Work Will Resume In Spring". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Tollway Rebuild, Widening Project Completed". Pioneer Press. January 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (October 19, 2009). "Illinois Tollways: New Markers to Be Posted Every Quarter-Mile Instead of Half-Mile". Chicago Tribune. 
  8. ^ Staff. "I-294/I-57 Interchange Fact Sheet". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ Staff. "Move Illinois: Fact Sheets" (PDF). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ Wronski, Richard. "Tollway to Add 'Smart Highway' Features Too". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ Wronski, Richard. "Tollway Working on Plan to Rebuild, Maybe Widen, Tri-State". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  13. ^ Wronski, Richard (December 13, 2011). "New Tri-State Ramp Opens at Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google