On March 29th, the ILITE Activities Committee hosted the March Luncheon at Ditka’s in Oakbrook, IL where we had 52 attendees representing both public agency and private consultant organizations.
Mr Manar Nashif, Senior Project Engineer with the Illinois Tollway, provided a comprehensive overview of the EOWA project history, scale and scope, and the reasons why the project has the potential to change the face of Illinois' northwest suburbs and the Midwest region. As the Tollway's largest-ever project, the EOWA project represents a fiscally responsible approach to address the area's diverse travel needs - improving travel efficiency, providing western access to O'Hare International Airport, creating opportunities for jobs and economic development, enhancing multi-modal connections, and reducing congestion. The EOWA project is designated a "Project of National and Regional Significance" by the U.S. Department of Transportation due to its overall magnitude, potential to dramatically improve mobility, freight connectivity, and enhance the national and regional economies. The EOWA project presented many challenges including being the first-ever freeway to toll road conversion in Illinois, first use of the tiered EIS in Illinois, first-ever use of federal funding for Illinois Tollway construction, and fast-track design delivery for I-290 Interchange Project. The Illinois Tollway has already made significant investments in the project, including $ 1 billion in engineering and land acquisition, and $2.4 billion allocated for construction.
John Davis, International Director for the Midwestern District of ITE joined us and provided after lunch activities with the “Slap Shot Shawn” game. Luncheon attendees got a chance to preview the game, which will be on hand at the upcoming 2017 Midwestern District Conference in Madison, Wisconsin in June where participants compete for a chance for to win a free registration to attend the 2017 Annual Meeting in Toronto. John also provided a short video presentation to promote the upcoming Midwestern District Conference.