CHICAGO – October 5, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by a broad spectrum of public and private sector leaders to announce the formation of a council to assist in the planning and building of the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass. The Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass Advisory Council will work to advance the major project to extend the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway east and build the long-sought west bypass route around O’Hare International Airport. The project will create more than 21,000 short-term and 60,000 long-term jobs, and fulfill one of the most important transportation needs in the state.
“Constructing the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass will help O’Hare International Airport to reach its full potential as an economic engine for Northeast Illinois and support our continued economic recovery by creating 80,000 jobs,” said Governor Quinn. “New access to O’Hare will be a magnet for businesses looking to connect with customers throughout the world.”
Established by executive order, the Governor’s advisory council will include 19 members representing local governments, the business community, regional planning groups, labor and public finance. The council reflects the regional consensus to move the project forward. Last year, impacted communities reached an agreement on the path the road will take, which will follow east along Thorndale Avenue before linking with the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).
The advisory council will act as a sounding board for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (Tollway) as the state explores potential financial structures and funding sources for the project estimated to cost $3.6 billion. Other topics the advisory council will focus on include: job growth, freight movement, transit features, workforce diversity, bike and pedestrian enhancements and green technologies. The council will present its first report to the Governor next spring.
“The Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass is going to be a 21st century project that keeps Illinois at the forefront of a global economy,” said IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig. “Investing in our infrastructure is crucial to maintaining and creating jobs, and this advisory council will help us deliver on that promise.”
“The Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass will bring tremendous growth and opportunity to Illinois and the entire Midwest region," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "The Illinois Tollway is committed to supporting projects that create jobs and keep business in the Midwest. I look forward to serving on this advisory council and working to move the Elgin-O'Hare West Bypass forward.”
The Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass is entering the second stage of environmental and engineering studies. This phase of the environmental impact statement will be completed in 2012 and sent to the federal government for approval. Construction could start as early as 2013.
Designated a “Project of National Significance” by the Federal Highway Administration, the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass was awarded $140 million by the federal government in 2005. The state matched that contribution with $35 million. To date, $45 million has been spent on engineering and land acquisition.