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Interstate 294 (I-294) is a tolled auxiliary Interstate Highway in northeastern Illinois. It forms the southern portion of the Tri-State Tollway in Illinois. I-294 runs from South Holland at I-80/I-94, and Illinois Route 394 (IL 394) to Northbrook at I-94. I-294 is 53.42 miles (85.97 km) long; 5.32 miles (8.56 km) are shared with I-80. It serves as a bypass around the city of Chicago. I-294 is also the longest auxiliary route of I-94, at 10 miles (16 km) longer than I-494 in Minneapolis–Saint Paul. In addition the tollway is the longest auxiliary Interstate Highway in Illinois, and it intersects the most primary interstate highways at six.
|Auxiliary route of I-94|
|Maintained by ISTHA|
|Length||53.45 mi (86.02 km)|
|History||Completed December 23, 1958|
|South end||I-80 / I-94 / IL 394 in Lansing|
I-94 / Lake Cook Road in Deerfield
I-294 begins at the interchange between I-94, I-80, and IL 394 in Lansing. I-94 splits off toward Chicago while I-80/I-294 heads west as an eight-lane tollway and crosses above a railroad track and Thorn Creek in Thornton. The highway crosses under the Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis, Chicago Road, another railroad track, and State Street through residential areas. I-80/I-294 is between the Thornton Quarry on an elevated area before crossing the quarry on a bridge and passing under another railroad track. The highway then enters East Hazel Crest and has a cloverleaf interchange with IL 1 (Halsted Street) and widens to ten lanes. Then I-80/I-294 reenters the residential areas and center cross over Center Avenue, the Canadian National Chicago Subdivision, the Metra Electric Line, and the Dixie Highway. After crossing under 171st Street, I-80 splits off and heads toward Des Moines, Iowa, and I-294 narrows to eight lanes in Hazel Crest.
After the I-80 split, I-294 heads north and enters Markham. It crosses under 167th Street and goes through the 163rd Street toll plaza. I-294 has a cloverleaf interchange with US 6 (159th Street) and turns northwest toward a incomplete interchange with I-57. I-294 then enters Posen and has a partial interchange with IL 83 (147th Street). I-294 turns west to cross the Metra Rock Island District and Kedzie Avenue. I-294 turns northwest, and enters Midlothian. It crosses over South Claire Boulevard, Pulaski Road, the Midlothian Turnpike, 135th Street, and the Calumet River. I-294 has an interchange with IL 50 and IL 83 (Cicero Avenue) with a northbound exit and southbound entrance via 127th Street in Alsip. It then passes by warehouses and crosses over Ridgeland Avenue, 115th Street, 111th Street, 107th Street, another Metra Line, Southwest Highway, Stony Creek, all while entering Worth, Chicago ridge, Bridgeview. The tollway enters Justice, and has another interchange with US 12/US 20 (95th Street) and IL 43 (Harlem Avenue). I-294 then crosses over 87th Street and Roberts Road. It then goes through the 82nd/83rd street toll plaza. It crosses over 88th Avenue, has an interchange with IL 171 (Archer Avenue), US 45, US 12 and US 20 (La Grange Road). I-294 then crosses the Canadian National Railway Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Des Plaines River, the BNSF Railway, Santa Fe Drive, and an access road on the Mile-Long Bridge. I-294 then enters Indian Head Park and has an interchange with I-55 and Joliet Road and turns north.
I-294 then passes under Plainfield Road, crosses a small creek, crosses under the Hinsdale Oasis, and enters Hinsdale. I-294 passes under 55th Street, 47th Street, the BNSF Railway, and a trail. I-294 then has a cloverleaf interchange with US 34 and enters Oak Brook. I-294 crosses under 31st Street and Cermak Road. I-294 goes through the Cermak Road toll plaza and the Hillside Strangler. It crosses over IL 38 (Roosevelt Road) after the plaza. It enters Hillside, and crosses over I-88, and I-290. It then crosses under Saint Charles Road, enters Berkeley and crosses the Union Pacific Railroad. I-294 enters Northlake, and crosses over US 20 (Lake Street), IL 64 (North Avenue), and Grand Avenue. It then takes the Grand Avenue Curve, turning northeast. I-294 crosses over the Union Pacific Railroad, Wolf Road, briefly enters Bensenville, crosses over the Bensenville Rail Yard of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and US 12 & US 45 (Mannheim Road), enters Schiller Park, crosses under the former O'Hare Oasis, and passes by the Irving Park toll plaza (for southbound lanes). It enters the Chicago Panhandle, which connects O'Hare International Airport to the rest of the city. It then enters Rosemont, crossing under Balmoral Avenue, I-190 and crossing over I-90 having an interchange with each of the three previously mentioned roadways.
I-294 enters Des Plaines, passing by the Touhy Avenue toll plaza (for northbound lanes), and crosses over River Road. It then has a partial interchange with Touhy Avenue. I-294 crossesthe Des Plaines River, and the Union Pacific Railroad, and enters Park Ridge. I-294 has a partial interchange with US 14 (Dempster Street), enters Glenview, crosses over Northwest Highway, and Ballard Road. It has another partial interchange with IL 58, and crosses over the Union Pacific Railroad, Central Avenue, IL 21 (Milwaukee Avenue), and Lake Avenue. It has a diamond interchange with Willow Road, and enters Northbrook. It crosses under Sanders Road, IL 68 (Dundee Road), crosses over Sanders Road. It enters Deerfield and terminates at a partial interchange with I-94 just south of Lake-Cook Road, the county line, to which I-294 has full access.
The portion of the Borman Expressway that was completed from Gary westward and the Kingery Expressway were originally designated as I-80, I-90, and I-294 from shortly after the Interstate Highway program was enacted until about 1965, when the connection between the Borman and the Indiana Toll Road was completed, and I-90 was swapped with I-94 west of that junction (and east of where those routes share the same road in Chicago), cutting back I-294 to its current south terminus (eliminating the Indiana part of I-294). Indiana later proposed to extend I-294 east on the current Borman Expressway to Indiana State Route 912, before having it turn north at that point, west at U.S. Route 12, and then back to I-94, most likely somewhere on the Bishop Ford Freeway near 130th Street. The request was denied.
I-294 was built largely before the growth and maturation of the suburbs that run along the corridor. As a result, the vast majority of the interchanges are partial, or were configured to have entrance ramps feeding the toll plazas. Gaps between exit ramps are common, the 6.5-mile (10.5 km) gap between Cicero Avenue (IL 50/IL 83) and 95th Street (US 12/US 20) being one of the more notable ones. Partial interchanges are located at Roosevelt Road (IL 38; northbound exit, southbound entrance), Irving Park Road (IL 19) (southbound exit, northbound entrance), Touhy Avenue (northbound exit, southbound entrance), Dempster Street (US 14; northbound exit, southbound entrance), and Golf Road (IL 58; southbound exit, northbound entrance). Several former partial interchanges have been converted to full interchanges, with automated toll collection facilities on the new ramps, such as at 159th Street (US 6; northbound on and southbound off added) and 95th Street (US 12/US 20; southbound on and northbound off added). The 79th Street exit was moved to 75th Street/Willow Springs Road, and made a complete interchange in the same manner.
From 1992-1993, the central portion of I-294 between Balmoral and 95th Street was widened to eight lanes. Between 2006-2009, the southern and northern portions of I-294 (IL-394 to 95th Street and I-90 to Lake Cook Road respectively) were fully reconstructed and expanded, bringing the entire highway up to eight lanes.
ISTHA and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are partnering to construct a new interchange to connect I-294 to I-57. The primary interchange connections between I-294 and I-57 were completed in 2014, while the remaining ramps will be completed in 2022.
The central portion of I-294 between Balmoral Avenue and 95th Street is currently being reconstructed and widened to a five/six lane cross section, with the inside shoulder being a flex lane that can be used during emergencies or heavy congestion. The work also includes reconfiguring the interchange with I-88/290. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in 2026.
The entire route is in Cook County.
|Lansing||0.00||0.00||I-80 east / I-94 east / US 6 east (Kingery Expressway) – Indiana||Southern terminus; southern end of I-80 concurrency; southern end of US 6 concurrency (NB lanes only)|
|161||US 6 west / IL 83 (Torrence Avenue)||Exit number follows I-80; no southbound entrance; northern end of US 6 concurrency (NB lanes only); only free exit northbound|
|Lansing–Thornton Township line||0|| I-94 west (Bishop Ford Freeway) – Chicago|
IL 394 south (Calumet Expressway) – Danville
|Southbound exit and northbound entrance; southern terminus of Tri-State Tollway; I-94 exit 74B|
|South Holland||0.90||1.45||Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis|
|East Hazel Crest||2.83||4.55||2||IL 1 (Halsted Street)||Signed as exits 2A (north) and 2B (south); northound exit and southbound entrance pay toll|
|4.33||6.97||4||Dixie Highway||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Hazel Crest||5.26||8.47||5||I-80 west to I-57 south – Iowa||Northern end of I-80 concurrency; I-80 exit 155|
|5.81||9.35||163rd Street Toll Plaza|
|Markham||6.48||10.43||6||US 6 (159th Street)||Signed as exits 6A (east) and 6B (west); southbound exit and northbound entrance pay toll|
|Blue Island||7.75||12.47||7||I-57 south to I-80 west – Memphis||I-Pass only; southbound exit and northbound entrance; full interchange opening 2023–24; I-57 exit 349|
|8.33||13.41||8||IL 83 (147th Street / Sibley Boulevard)||I-Pass only; southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Alsip||12.13||19.52||12||IL 50 (Cicero Avenue) / IL 83 (127th Street)||Signed as exits 12A (south) and 12B (north)|
|Hickory Hills||17.63||28.37||17||US 12 / US 20 (95th Street) / 76th Avenue||Signed as exits 17A (east) and 17B (west) southbound; no northbound signage for 76th Avenue; northbound exit and southbound entrance pay toll|
|19.37||31.17||83rd Street Toll Plaza (northbound)|
|19.78||31.83||82nd Street Toll Plaza (southbound)|
|Justice||CR W30 (88th/Cork Avenue)||Future interchange|
|20.45||32.91||—||US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (La Grange Road) / IL 171 (Archer Avenue)||Southbound entrance only|
|Des Plaines River||21.20–|
|22||75th Street / Willow Springs Road||Southbound exit and northbound entrance pay toll|
|Indian Head Park||23.20–|
|23|| I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) – Chicago, St. Louis|
Historic US 66 (Joliet Road)
|Signed as exits 23A (north) and 23B (south); no southbound entrance from I-55 north; I-55 exit 277; exit unnumbered southbound; southbound exit and northbound entrance provide access from and to Joliet Road; southbound exit and northbound entrance pay toll|
|23.42||37.69||23B||Wolf Road||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Western Springs||27.57||44.37||27||US 34 (Ogden Avenue)||Signed as exits 27A (east) and 27B (west)|
|Oak Brook||29.40||47.31||29|| |
I-88 west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) – Aurora
|Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-88 exit 138|
|29.63||47.68||29||Cermak Road (22nd Street)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|30.00||48.28||Cermak Road Toll Plaza|
|Hillside||30.64||49.31||30||IL 38 (Roosevelt Road)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 30A (east) and 30B (west)|
I-290 east / IL 110 (CKC) east (Eisenhower Expressway) – Chicago
|Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-290 exit 15A|
I-88 west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) – Aurora
|Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Berkeley||31.75||51.10||31||I-290 west to US 20 / IL 64 – Rockford||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-290 exit 15A|
I-290 east / IL 110 (CKC) east (Eisenhower Expressway) – Chicago
|Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-290 exit 15B|
|Northlake||33.70||54.23||33||I-290 west to US 20 / IL 64 – Rockford||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-290 exit 13A|
|Franklin Park|| |
I-490 north (O'Hare Western Bypass)
|Schiller Park||37.96||61.09||O'Hare Oasis (Gas station only)|
|38.41||61.81||38||IL 19 (Irving Park Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; signed as exits 38A (east) and 38B (west)|
|38.89||62.59||Irving Park Toll Plaza (southbound)|
|Rosemont||39.91||64.23||39||Balmoral Avenue||I-Pass only on northbound exit ramp; northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|40.42||65.05||40A||I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) / River Road – O'Hare||Signed as exit 40 northbound; I-190 exits 1C-D; northbound exit to River Road only; exit ramps pay toll|
I-90 (Kennedy Expressway / Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) – Chicago, Rockford
|Signed as exit 40 northbound; I-90 exits 77 and 78|
|Park Ridge||41.64||67.01||Touhy Avenue Toll Plaza (northbound)|
|42.28||68.04||42||Touhy Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 42A (east) and 42B (west); speed limit of 60 mph begins|
|Des Plaines||44.32||71.33||44||US 14 (Dempster Street)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 44A (east) and 44B (west)|
|45.34||72.97||45||IL 58 (Golf Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; pay toll|
|Glenview||49.02||78.89||48||Willow Road||Southbound exit and northbound entrance pay toll|
|Northbrook||52.75||84.89||52||Lake Cook Road||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
I-94 west (Tri-State Tollway north) – Wisconsin
|Northern terminus; northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-94 exit 25B|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Retrieved November 8, 2007.
- McClendon, Dennis (2005). "Expressways". Encyclopedia Chicago. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- Orr, Ginger (May 7, 1996). "Illinois Tollways Through the Years". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- Google (October 22, 2020). "Overview of Interstate 294" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- Szymczak, P. Davis (September 27, 1991). "Widening of Tri-State Could Begin in October". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "I-294/I-57 Interchange Project: Phase 2". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- "Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (n.d.). System Map (Map). Downers Grove: Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- "Toll Rates by Plaza (For Years 2009+)" (PDF). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 12, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 294.|