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Interstate 55 Managed Lanes

The Illinois Department of Transportation (Department) completed preliminary engineering and environmental studies (Phase I) for the improvement of I-55 from Interstate 355 (I-355) to Interstate 90/94 (I-90/94). The improvement consists of the addition of one lane along I-55 in each direction between I-355 and east of Interstate 294 (I-294) and two lanes in each direction from east of I-294 to I-90/94, the most congested portion of the I-55 corridor. These improvements will address the projected congestion through 2050. Environmental approval was received by the Federal Highway Administration in December 2018. A previous Phase I study was completed in November 2016 for one managed lane in each direction.

The study evaluated multiple alternatives for this corridor and Express Toll Lanes (ETL) showed the best improvement for traffic flow and congestion relief. The existing travel lanes along I-55 will remain free, but the new lanes are proposed to be managed as express toll lanes (ETL) with dynamic pricing to provide travel choices within the corridor. The addition of the ETL within the existing median will provide options to adapt to frequently changing traffic conditions across all lanes and provide a sustainable transportation solution. The addition of the ETL would also increase the capacity of the overall roadway. As a result, the existing travel (free) lanes would also experience reduced congestion

Note: IDOT projects typically have three distinct phases. Phase I (or the project Study) consists of developing the project scope, environmental studies and preliminary design of a project. Phase II (Design) consists of refining the design to develop contract plans and land acquisition. Phase III (Construction) consists of the actual construction of the project.


This project evaluated implementing two Express Toll Lanes (ETLs) in each direction on the eastern section of the corridor, between I-294 and I-90/94. The section from I-355 to I-294 will remain as one ETL in each direction as previously approved. There are still no changes in right-of-way needs and the evaluation built upon the previous study.

IDOT has made it a priority to seek alternative project delivery opportunities, such as a public-private partnership, or P3, in an effort to involve industry and best leverage resources for this important, regional project. This method helps IDOT deliver an I-55 project that is safest, most operationally efficient and makes the most financial sense for the public.

Problem Statement:

Interstate 55 experiences severe congestion for extended periods of time on a daily basis and is unable to accommodate the existing traffic demands (regional, daily commuter and local) due to limited roadway capacity, roadway design constraints at some locations, high truck volumes and numerous interchanges. In addition, commuters have limited available public transit options. This has resulted in increasingly long and unreliable travel times, decreased safety and increased costs for delivery of goods and services. The existing communities and businesses along the Interstate 55 corridor depend on it for a diversity of transportation services. Improving mobility in support of these needed services, and avoiding or minimizing community impacts, will require sustainable solutions within a constrained physical corridor and a limited funding environment. These solutions must seek to maximize the use of the existing infrastructure, support increased transit options and incorporate new revenue opportunities to support the implementation and maintenance of proposed improvements.

Purpose and Need:

  • Mobility and operational efficiency to adapt to changing travel demands
  • Congestion Management Strategies to improve system performance and travel time reliability
  • New travel choice in support of transit opportunities
  • Sustainable transportation solution that meets future environmental and economic needs
  • Maximize use of existing facility to adapt to funding constraints


As part of the I-55 Managed Lane Phase I study a noise analysis was performed and found that nearly 12 miles of noise walls meet the Department’s criteria including your area.  If the project’s final design during Phase II is different from the preliminary design in Phase I, the Department will determine if revisions to the traffic noise analysis are necessary.  Traditionally, noise walls are installed towards the end of highway construction and installation is typically completed in one construction season. The Department does not have a timetable on when I-55 managed lanes will be implemented

The Illinois Department of Transportation (Department) develops and implements projects using the following three phase process:

  • Phase I: Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Studies (Completed in December of 2018)
  • Phase II: Contract Plan Preparation and Land Acquisition (Typically 18-24 months)
  • Phase III: Construction and Construction Engineering (Typically 12-24 months)

At this time, funding for Phase II is included in the Department’s Fiscal Year 2022-2027 Proposed Highway Improvement Program.  Funding for Phase III is not included in the current program and the Department has no estimated timetable for implementation of the I-55 Managed Lane Project.  However, the Department is currently evaluating different funding sources that can be utilized to advance this project.  Once funding is identified, it is estimated that Phase II will take 18-24 months and construction will take approximately 24 months to complete.

The I-55 Managed Lane Project followed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has completed an environmental study for the Managed Lane Project in order to satisfy NEPA requirements.

The NEPA process requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making process by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to these actions. IDOT assessed the natural, built, and human environment to determine the extent of impacts that may arise from constructing and operating a project. Environmental factors such as air quality, wildlife, vegetation, water quality, wetlands, geology, neighborhoods, park/recreation areas, utilities, visual quality, and cultural resources were assessed. NEPA encourages early and frequent coordination with the public and resource agencies throughout the project development process. Public comments that were received during the alternative analysis phase were considered in the draft environmental document. Following NEPA guidelines, an environmental study document was approved in 2016 and a second study in 2018.

Contact Us:

Illinois Department of Transportation – I-55 Managed Lane Project Study Team


The Illinois Department of Transportation (Department) is currently in Phase II for this project.  Funding for Phase III is not included in the current program and the Department has no estimated timetable for implementation of the I-55 Managed Lane Project. When funding becomes available this site will be updated periodically as the project progresses. The Department wishes to thank you for your support and patience.

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