Drivers can expect new digital sign on westbound I-90

  • The Illinois tollway will add another digital overhead sign on the westbound I-90 near River Road.

    The Illinois tollway will add another digital overhead sign on the westbound I-90 near River Road. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 12/16/2021 6:47 PM

Suburbanites heading home from the city will be able to calibrate how long their commutes will be with an electronic overhead sign greeting drivers as they pass from the Kennedy Expressway to the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) next year.

Illinois tollway board members on Thursday approved a $2.86 million contract with Aldridge Electric Inc. of Libertyville to erect a digital sign on westbound I-90 near River Road and to update nonelectronic guidance signs on I-90, the Reagan Memorial (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial tollways.


The digital sign will join others, which were installed when I-90 was widened, and provide "messaging about travel times or if there's an incident ahead -- information motorists need to know," acting Chief Engineering Officer Manar Nashif said.

In addition, crews will repair and replace multiple, standard green signs that are in poor condition or require modernizing because of new interchange configurations, Nashif said.

"It's very specialized work, and some of this work is at very remote locations," he noted.

Widening and modernizing of I-90 to become a "smart road" was completed in 2017 with an upgrade to dynamic signs that gave alerts about crashes and lane closures as well as traffic.

The tollway board also approved a $1.83 million contract with Chicago-based Foundation Mechanics to install technology that triggers alerts about ramp delays.

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The ramp queue detection system will be added to 10 priority sites on I-88, I-90, the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) and I-355, Nashif said.

"Each of these systems consists of a combination of traffic sensors, flashing signs and cameras, and these are used by the tollway's traffic operations center to monitor and manage traffic on our ramps," he explained.

Priority locations include: Orchard Road, I-355, Route 59 and Highland Avenue on I-88; Route 39, Route 53 and the Lee Street vicinity on I-90; and Golf Road, Willow Road and North Avenue on I-94.

However, "the warning system won't go on every ramp at these locations -- just the ones where we've seen vehicles queuing," spokesman Dan Rozek said.

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