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This page provides regular updates on the progress of the I-90 Improvements Study. Check back often to see the latest on what’s happening with the study! All materials, schedules and other study resources are available for download on the Study Documents and Links Page.

Project Schedule
chart 2The I-90 Improvements Study is in Phase I of the IDOT process (Planning), with a Public Hearing anticipated February 13, 2014 and design approval anticipated by March, 2014.

Phase I is often referred to as the Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study Phase. Phase I involves the analysis of existing and future conditions, defining the Purpose and Need for an improvement, and developing and analyzing improvement alternatives. The culmination of the Phase I Study concludes with the selection of the preferred alternative.

Phase II is the design and land acquisition stage in the project process. After a preferred alternative is approved in Phase I, construction contract documents are prepared and required right of way is acquired. Phase II typically takes 2 years to complete.

Phase III is the construction phase for the improvement.

Phase I Engineering is currently underway for the improvements of Interstate 90 from Interstate 190 to Illinois Route 43. Funding for Phase I and Contract Plan Preparation (Phase II) is currently included in the Department’s FY 2013-2018 Proposed Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program. Beyond Phase II, this project will be included in our priorities for future funding consideration among similar improvement needs throughout the region.

What is the Phase I project process?
Analyze Existing Conditions – The study team will evaluate existing conditions in the corridor to identify deficiencies and problems. Meetings will be held with representatives of the communities in the study area to gather information on their issues and concerns within the project corridor. IDOT will also hold a Public Meeting on March 26, 2013 to present the identified issues, concerns and transportation needs to project stakeholders as well as solicit feedback about the project.

STEP 2: Develop Purpose and Need Statement – Using the information obtained in Step 1, IDOT will develop a Problem Statement and a Purpose and Need Statement. The Problem Statement summarizes the identified issues and concerns for the project. It will guide the development of the Purpose and Need for the project, which is an explanation of why the
project is needed. IDOT will hold a meeting with the Project Working Group (PWG), which will be comprised of mayors or other representatives of the communities, to aid in developing the Problem Statement and the Purpose and Need.

STEP 3: Develop and Analyze Potential Improvements – The third step in the study process involves the identification of possible improvements and development of the criteria to evaluate those improvements. IDOT anticipates holding the second meeting with the PWG during this step. Preliminary engineering design will also occur during this step. A recommended set of improvements will be identified using the evaluation criteria, as well as feedback from the PWG.

STEP 4: Evaluate Potential Impacts and Benefits – Once the recommended improvements have been identified, the potential impacts and benefits will be evaluated. The findings of this analysis will be presented and discussed with the PWG during the final meeting with the group, documented in the Phase I engineering report, and presented for review and comment at the Public Hearing. This report will also include the environmental analysis required by state and federal laws. IDOT will consider the findings of the technical analyses, as well as all public and stakeholder input collected throughout the Phase I study, as it makes the final decision on the project. IDOT anticipates holding the public hearing February 13, 2014.

Where Are We in the Process?
The study of the improvements along I-90 from I-190 to IL 43 is currently transitioning between Steps 2 & 3. The project team has developed a Purpose and Need statement and conducted analyses of existing and future conditions. An initial range of alternatives are being developed from the input gathered from the public, agencies, and the project team. After a series of analyses, including a fatal flaw screening, a purpose and need screening, and an impact evaluation, a preliminary preferred alternative will be identified.

Study Schedule

The one public meeting and two Project Working Group meetings that have been held thus far are described below.

Public Hearing
Public Hearing (February 13, 2014) A public hearing was held on Wednesday February 13, 2014 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Chicago O’Hare. The intention of the hearing was to present the purpose and need for the project, the preferred alternative, and to seek public comment. Potential noise abatement measures are also being considered for inclusion in this project. Public was encouraged to provide comments on the recommended preferred improvement. Comments provided by the attendees were collected by the project team. A presentation and additional documents from this meeting can be found on the Study Documents page.

Public Meeting (March 26, 2013) The first Public Meeting was held on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn O’Hare in Chicago. It was an open-house format meeting with a continuously-running PowerPoint presentation and exhibit boards on display. Thirty stakeholders attended the meeting including a reporter from the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, 41st Ward Alderman Mary O’Connor and her Chief of Staff Lisa Ryan, 55th District State Representative Marty Moylan, Legislative Aide Emily Perish, PACE representative Charlotte O’Donnell, and Village of Norridge Engineer Brian Gaseor. Seven written comments were received at the meeting and a few additional comments were submitted during the two-week open comment period following the meeting. Most of the comments concerned noise impacts, reflecting the familiarity of the noise process and mitigation measures as related to airport noise because the residents in the I-90 project area are also in an O’Hare Airport runway flight path. Other comments expressed at the meeting included support for the project and the Cumberland Flyover concept and requests to be involved in the working group process. Stakeholders also expressed concern over retaining wall and noise wall construction impacts to frontage roads and noise and disruption during construction. Concerns were also raised about the WB Harlem Avenue ramp meter backing traffic into the nearby intersection. With this ramp becoming the auxiliary lane, this should not be a future concern and the ramp meter could be removed. The Park Ridge Herald-Advocate and NBC5 television station ran stories after the meeting. The presentation and handouts given at this meeting are available on the Study Documents page.

Project Working Group (PWG) Meetings
PWG Meeting #1 The first PWG meeting was held to review and obtain comments on the presentation and displays for Public Meeting #1 on April 29, 2013 at the Roden Library in Chicago. The ten stakeholders that attended the meeting were the 41st Ward Alderman and Chief of Staff, Village of Norridge Engineer, Representatives of CDOT, CTA, Pace, Illinois Tollway, and three residents. The purpose of PWG #1 was to discuss the study process, initial findings, the role of the PWG, and to perform a workshop to brainstorm the more subtle transportation problems at the I-90 from I-190 to IL 43. The results from the Problem Statement Workshop and other materials from this meeting can be found on the Study Documents page.

PWG Meeting #2 The second PWG meeting was held at the Roden Library on September 6, 2013. The seven stakeholders that attended the meeting were the Chief of Staff of the 41st Ward Alderman, Village of Norridge Engineer, Representatives of CDOT, Pace, Chicago Fire Department, and two residents. The purpose of the meeting was to review the previously defined deficiencies, present the potential improvements for the project and gather stakeholder input and feedback. A summary of the meeting along with other related documents from this meeting can be found on the Study Documents page.

PWG Meeting #3 (January 21, 2014) The third Project Working Group (PWG) meeting for the Phase I Study of I-90 from I-190 to IL 43 (Harlem Avenue) was held on January 21, 2013 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. at Roden Public Library in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was to present the preferred alternative, the noise analysis and provide a preview of the public hearing to the stakeholders in order to gather their input and feedback. A summary of the meeting along with other related documents from this meeting can be found on the Study Documents page.


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