Illinois mulls P3 for I-55 managed lanes

Proponents argue that a P3 proposal to add managed lanes along Interstate 55 near Chicago could save the state $425m.  

Illinois lawmakers are publicly supporting a proposal to add managed lanes to a traffic-laden segment of Interstate 55, near Chicago, on the basis that carrying out such an upgrade as a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) could save the state $425 million.   

Late last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was joined by a handful of state lawmakers to announce a resolution that would allow the state Department of Transportation (IDOT) to pursue the plan to add tolled or express tolled lanes to the highway.

“By using existing resources to leverage private investment, we can build the type of infrastructure that allows Illinois to better compete in the 21st Century,” Rauner told the press at the time of the announcement.

The resolution authorises IDOT to commence procurement for the potential project, which will run from Interstate 355 to Interstate 90 and 94 in DuPage, Cook, and Will counties. 

According to a 2011 state law, IDOT can build, finance, operate and maintain highway infrastructure through P3s on the condition that legislative approval is achieved. 

Environmental review on the proposed I-55 project is already under way and should be completed this year. According to that timeline, construction would begin in 2017 and wrap by 2019.