BENSENVILLE – DuPage County recently secured more than $69 million in federal grants to help fund the local share of the Illinois Tollway's Elgin O'Hare Western Access Project (EOWA) through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program.
Through it's Move Illinois capital program, the Illinois Tollway has pledged $3.1 billion toward the $3.4 billion EOWA project. Local officials need $300 million to cover the gap in funding. The federal grant money will lessen that gap.
The CMAQ Program is designed to improve air quality and mitigate congestion. The program will help fund three construction projects outlined in the Western Access plan, including $34 million to replace the current Interstate 290 northbound and southbound ramps that intersect with Thorndale Avenue with new ramps that will significantly reduce delays for travelers.
Also, a new $23 million bridge will be built to carry Touhy Avenue over the railroad, which provides access to the north airfield of O’Hare International Airport and will have an interchange with the EOWA Project, linking the communities north of O’Hare to the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Illinois Route 390 portion of the EOWA Project and DuPage County.
The Touhy Avenue and Elmhurst Road intersection will also get an $11 million improvement, which includes redesigned turns to avoid congestion.
The Illinois Tollway recently broke ground on the EOWA Project to extend the road east along Thorndale Avenue to O’Hare International Airport. EOWA will also connect to I-90 on the north and I-294 on the south.
Western Access is expected to create 65,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2040 when combined with completion of the western terminal at O'Hare Airport. It will also save $145 million in annual motorist travel costs and be the first all-electronic toll road in the state.