Planning for the Future

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The South Beloit toll plaza will look dramatically different come August 2006. It's all part of the Illinois Tollway's 5.3 billion dollar congestion relief-plan.

"We're converting 20 mainline toll plazas throughout the entire 274 miles of the roadway system to open tolling. We're going to take eight of these plazas, including South Beloit, and begin reconstruction to open road tolling," says Bunny Anderson, Liason for Engineering Projects for the Illinois Tollway.

Anderson says the barrier free system will make travel faster and easier. What open road tolling is going to mean for I-Pass users is that they're going to be able to travel the system without going through toll plazas. “This is going to be a great tool for traffic management," says Anderson.

Congestion relief will also be heading to the Illinois 173 corridor. Ten years ago, RATS adopted a corridor access plan for 173, from 251 to Belvidere Road. At the RATS meeting, the Illinois Department of Transportation asked for a motion to reaffirm the resolution.

The plan is still in the works, and in the spring of 2006, the first phase of the project will begin, a 29 million dollar construction of the I-90/173 Interchange.

"It's important to have a good plan so you can have a good flow of traffic, good access for commercial development—can help tax revenues go up so communities can grow," says Ross Monk with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

All the steps are being put into place so we're prepared for a faster future. The I-90/173 Interchange should be completed by 2008. Once that project is finished, work will begin on 173 west of Rock Cut State Park.