New DeKalb toll plaza offers advantages to drivers

By Porsche Pryor

DeKalb’s new toll plaza, set to open this summer, will hopefully be finished before next semester’s hectic move-in day.

“With a daily average of 8,000 cars passing through the DeKalb plaza, and 1,100 entering Annie Glidden, the new development will be safer,” said Illinois State Toll Highway Authority representative Jan Kemp.

Only three miles east, the new Peace Road exit will offer travelers to DeKalb an easy alternate route. Also, movement through the plaza will be quicker and there will be less congestion on the expressway.

“The open road tolling system allows people to travel through the toll plaza without having to slow down, change lanes or make a decision as far as payment goes,” Kemp said.

The new tolling system should also decrease the occurrence of accidents due to swerving to get in the appropriate lane.

“People aren’t getting in the way by stopping; I-PASS users and cash users won’t be mixed together,” Kemp said.

The new system of tolling without booths is being used throughout the Illinois Tollway and has proved to be very useful.

“It’s a very effective way to get people to and from their destinations,” said DeKalb City Engineer Joel Maurer.

Beside congestion relief, there are also added perks for the atmosphere.

“It’s efficient for the environment because vehicles aren’t stopped and emitting fumes,” Kemp said.

Any worries about construction scheduling conflicting with next fall’s move-in day should not be so. Construction officials are confident work will be done on time, a week before the start of the fall semester.

“The Illinois Tollway and NIU have done precise planning so construction definitely will not have an impact on move-in day,” Kemp said.

Just in case the project is not completed, NIU Transportation services has a contingency plan.

“It is a way of protecting ourselves and students, we would hate to find out the work was not done a week before and not have a plan,” said Bill Finucane, Manager of NIU Transportation Services. “We are trying to prevent mass chaos.”