Top 3 Routes to Avoid Illinois Tolls

Alternate routes after toll rates jump Jan. 1

Illinois Tollway 42511
Julia Buckley

The new year is bringing a new hike in fares along the Illinois Tollway.

The cheapest toll plazas now will cost I-PASS users 75 cents, up from 40 cents. Drivers without I-PASS will continue to pay twice as much, seeing their lowest rates at toll plazas jump to $1.50 from 80 cents.

It's all part of a new $12 billion capital program to repair and rebuild roadways, bridges and interchanges across the 286-mile system during the next 15 years.

But many are considering altering their routes, allowing themselves more time instead of handing out more money.

Below are three of the best alternate routes we could find. (Travel times based on Google Maps estimates; toll info from the Illinois Tollway.)

1. Take Skokie Hwy versus the Interstate 94 Tri-State from the Edens to the Wisconsin State Line

Using Interstate 94/Tri-State Tollway:

Distance: 50 Miles
Time: 1 hour, 1 minute
Tolls: 2
Cost: Currently $1.25 (I-Pass) $2.50 (Cash)  | As of Jan. 1: $2.35 (I-Pass) $4.70 (Cash)

Using Skokie Hwy:
Distance: 47 miles
Time: 55 minutes
Tolls: 0
Cost: None

2. Take Route 83 versus Interstate 355 from Interstate 55 to Interstate 290

Using Interstate 355:
Distance: 20 Miles
Time: 26 Minutes
Tolls: 2
Cost: Currently $1 (I-Pass) $2 (Cash)  | As of Jan. 1: $1.90 (I-Pass) $3.80 (Cash)

Using Route 83:
Distance: 19 Miles
Time: 29 Minutes
Tolls: 0
Cost: None

4. Take Interstate 290 versus Interstate 90 from Woodfield to the Loop

Using Interstate 90:
Distance: 26 Miles
Time: 37 Minutes
Tolls: 1
Cost: Currently $.40 (I-Pass) $.80 (Cash)  | As of Jan. 1: $.75 (I-Pass) $1.50 (Cash)

Using Route 290:
Distance: 31 Miles
Time:  42 Minutes
Tolls: 0
Cost: None

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