Cook County Working to Bring Western Access to O’Hare International Airport

First formal agreement approved by Board of Commissioners


Cook County has officially joined to drive to bring much-needed western access to O’Hare International Airport.
The Elgin O’Hare Western Access (EOWA) project, which carries a current price tag of $3.4 billion, will allow travelers and commercial shipping and freight services to access the airport from the western suburbs. The project will also enhance access to major commercial and industrial centers in the northwest suburbs as well as remedy traffic congestion on I-294 and at interchanges on I-290 and I-90.

On Wednesday, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Village of Itasca, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the Illinois Department of Transportation and DuPage County for construction of EOWA. While the IGA is the first formal multi-governmental agreement for the EOWA, Cook County and its partners have been working together on the innovative transportation project since 2012.

The EOWA has the potential to transform the economy of communities surrounding the airport while also benefiting motorists and air travelers, said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“Transportation projects in this region need to be coordinated on a regional level,” Preckwinkle said. “When I took office, I transformed Cook County’s former Highway Department into a Department of Transportation so that when projects like this are being planned, we can play a major role in ensuring that regional projects serve multi-modal transportation needs.”

Cook County has already invested Motor Fuel Tax funds toward the EOWA project. Early construction has begun and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2023.

President Preckwinkle said she is grateful to DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin for offering to work in collaboration with the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways.

The Tollway Authority will design and construct the Elgin O’Hare Expressway, extending it from its eastern terminus at Rohlwing Road (Illinois Route 53) to O’Hare International Airport. The project will also connect the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) with the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).