I-88 construction will close Annie Glidden exit, entrance ramps

By Joe Palmer

Students will have to find a new way to get to Northern Illinois University, as I-88 and I-294 construction continues.

The resurfacing of I-88 between Route 56 in North Aurora and Illinois Route 251 in Rochelle began April 1 and will continue through the late fall, according to an Illinois Tollway press release.

The project for the Reagan Memorial Tollway is meant to extend the lifespan of the 38 mile corridor, and is slated to cost $60.1 million.

“We understand that the I-88 corridor supports multi-modal centers and freight traffic as well as daily commuters and students traveling to and from Northern Illinois University,” said Kristi Lafleur, Illinois Tollway executive director, in a press release. “Repairs and improvements to this 38-mile corridor on the Reagan Memorial Tollway will allow us to continue to provide safe and convenient travel for drivers between Rochelle and the western suburbs.”

The construction will have an impact on students that travel in and out of DeKalb, though some say the project will not dramatically change their plans.

“If the road is in need of repairs, then it’s not that big of an issue,” said freshman English major Mitchell Brinkman.

The exit and entrance ramps at Annie Glidden Road will be closed for a month between late May and late June to allow for construction to be completed as quickly as possible. Traffic will be routed to the Peace Road ramp during the down time.

Additionally, pre-stage work between Glidden Road in DeKalb and Route 251 in Rochelle will close lanes and shift traffic to the left until resurfacing begins to replace the asphalt, which was last rehabilitated in 2001, according to a press release from the Illinois Tollway.

Some students have already found a way to get around construction zone driving, like Kyle Kimball, junior math education major, who stopped using I-88 earlier this year.

“I haven’t used 88 since the tolls went up in January anyway,” Kimball said. “The construction won’t bother me at all.”

Drivers are encouraged to follow work zone safety laws including a speed limit of 45 mph at all times. Illinois State Police will maintain a zero tolerance policy for speeding in work zones, and fines are listed at a minimum of $375, according to the Illinois State Police’s website.

I-294 will also be under construction between 95th Street in Oak Lawn and Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont. The construction on the 19 mile stretch will be resurfaced, and will include repairs to 54 bridge structures throughout the corridor. The total cost of the work is slated at $112.6 million, according to the press release about the resurfacing project.