Illinois Tollway Seeks to Boost Economic Growth for Towns Via New Signs

Tollway considers adding new signs promoting lodging and tourism attractions along its roadways, including the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway from Randall Road to Rockton Road.


The Illinois Tollway is considering changing its sign policy to let businesses advertise on signs and attract drivers from its roadway.

A board of director’s committee is looking to boost economic growth in communities along its roadways through the promotion of lodging and local tourism attractions, according to a release.

Originally launched in 2007 as a pilot program for lodging facilities along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) from Elgin to Rockford, the corridor now has blue board signs located at five interchanges along I-90 with 18 businesses currently participating.

“The Tollway’s goal is to be a partner in economic development,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in the release. “While our 15-year, $12 billion Move Illinois capital program has already provided a much-needed jolt to small businesses in our state and is expected to pump $21 billion into our economy, we continue to seek additional opportunities to strengthen our neighbors along the Tollway system.”

The proposed revisions will expand the number of “blue board” sign locations on the Tollway system for lodging facilities to advertise and, for the first time, give local tourism attractions an opportunity to advertise on Tollway signs. 

Interchanges that would have “blue board” signs include Route 20, Randall Road and Route 47. Tollway officials said earlier this year that Huntley’s name will be listed on signs at the full interchange under construction.

Tourist attractions, hotels, gas station or other organizations must fill out an application and meet certain qualifications, including being located within three to five miles of the interchange, in order to be listed on the blue signs.

The cost is $2,000 for the first year and $950 annuals for the following 14 years of the 15-year program. The annual fees from participating businesses will help offset the Tollway’s costs to fabricate and install each sign.

“The new policy will allow us to provide a unique opportunity for many local businesses to advertise on our roadways,” said Illinois Tollway Board Director Tom Weisner, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee in the release. “In addition to providing information about local hotels and destinations, the new signage will help make travel easier and more enjoyable for drivers traveling through Northern Illinois.”

The revised policy is available for review at the Tollway’s website and the agency is looking for public input. The 21-day public comment period will extend through November 7 to allow sufficient time for comment and review and provide Tollway Directors the opportunity to consider public input and make further revisions before the final policy is presented for approval at the next Strategic Planning Committee on December 12.


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