The Illinois Tollway expects 15.4 million vehicles will use the Tollway system during the Christmas and New Year's holidays between Dec. 23, and Jan. 3- a three percent increase over the same period in 2010. The heaviest travel is anticipated on Friday, when the Tollway expects 1.6 million vehicles to be on the road. On an average day, about 1.4 million vehicles use the Tollway.
To accommodate increased holiday travel, the Tollway will suspend all temporary maintenance and construction lane closures from noon on Dec. 23, until 9 a.m. on Dec. 26, and from noon Dec. 30, until 9 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2012. Some work may continue behind barriers to keep work on schedule, but this work will not impact traffic.
"The Illinois Tollway wishes a safe and happy holiday season to all of our customers," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "Drivers should remain alert with increased holiday traffic and remember that texting or emailing while driving is illegal and deadly."
It is illegal to text or email at any time while driving on Illinois roads. Drivers on the Illinois Tollway who need to check email or send a text message should pull over to a safe location. In Illinois, data indicates that cell phone distractions, including texting, were the primary or secondary cause of 1,119 vehicle crashes in 2010.
"Illinois Tollway Oases are great places for drivers to stop and access free Wi-Fi if they need to send an email or text message," said Lafleur. "As part of our annual tradition, the Oases will also provide late-night drivers a free cup of coffee on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve."
The Illinois Tollway and McDonald's and 7-Eleven will provide customers with a free small cup of coffee on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at each of the seven Oases to help keep drivers safe and alert while traveling. Oases locations include:
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
- Des Plaines Oasis
- Belvidere Oasis
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- Lake Forest Oasis
- O'Hare Oasis
- Hinsdale Oasis
- Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- DeKalb Oasis