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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,162

    Default Have you ever stopped in one of those toll-way bridge oasis in Illinois?

    This is an excerpt of an article, written by Patrick M. O'Connell and Susan Berger, that was published today (06-22-18) in the Chicago Tribune. RTA's Executive Editor, Megan Edwards, is quoted in the article near the bottom.

    O’Hare tollway oasis bridge, one of a handful left, is set to come down

    It’s a simple thrill for many motorists and suburban commuters: gazing out the glass windows from a tollway oasis bridge, semi trucks and minivans barreling below.

    But grab that soft pretzel and savor the view. One by one, the Illinois Tollway bridges are disappearing. Another could be slated for the wrecking ball by the end of the year.

    The O’Hare Oasis over the Tri-State Tollway in Schiller Park is expected to be torn down as part of the ongoing Interstate 294 expansion project. It’s not exactly the Willis Tower Ledge or box seats at the United Center, but a perch atop an oasis bridge is an experience distinct to Illinois, and soon there will be one less vantage point...
    (read more)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,536

    Default

    Been to most of them when I lived there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,578

    Default Before, During, and After

    As I young child I grew up in Delaware while all my relatives lived in Wisconsin. We would semi-annually make the RoadTrip out to the 'Old Country'. My earliest memories of those trips are from a time when Chicago had NO freeways, toll or otherwise, and we would get off at the end of the Indiana Tollway and go through Gary and along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The opening of the Tri-State Tollway around Chicago was quite the event and made our (well, my parents') drive much, much easier. The tolls were semi-reasonable and well worth it. I vividly remember the over-the-highway rest areas (actually just the restaurant and rest room portions) and watching the traffic whiz by underneath us. Those trips and similar experiences watching road structures and usage change with time, as well as the realization of how much ground could be covered in a relatively short period of time, helped drive my fascination with RoadTripping. But to this day, as far as I know, the Tri-State Tollway's arrangement of using the air rights over the highway for service areas may be unique in the world and I will be sorry to see them go.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,536

    Default

    I think they built them that way to avoid the need for 2 restaurants - one on each side of the road.

    NJ did things a bit differently on the Garden State Parkway - some of the the service areas were in the middle of a very wide median, with left hand ramps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,858

    Default

    Yes, when I lived in Illinois (as a kid). I'm sorry they're going the way of the dinosaur.

    Some of the service areas on the Kansas Turnpike are right in the middle, serving both directions of the freeway. Today, along the West Virginia Turnpike, there was one service area that served both directions, but was located on the west side of the (then going north-south) turnpike. It was the one directly north of Beckley.


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,162

    Default It was a matter of convenience too

    Driving large vehicles, I really liked that it was easy to stop and get a meal or wander about without actually leaving the tollway and going through the tollbooths.

    I remember those stops fondly.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,396

    Default outdated by technology

    The ironic thing is that while the oasis was a great convenience on the tollway system, the convenience of transponders, which now make up the vast majority of tollway traffic, such oasis' are no longer all that much more convenient than simply using the next exit. Whereas you used to have to not only have change to throw in the coin booth every dozen miles or so, and then have more change if you wanted to get off the highway, not you don't have to worry about stopping and throwing out change just to exit the tollway.

    Sure, they're still a bit faster, and if you've got a big vehicle, I'm sure they are easier, but for the average traveler in an average car, you can have a lot more dining choices, usually with less inflated prices, just by getting off at the next exit.

    Having said that, it's a bit early to call them a dying breed. This is the second oasis to be taken down, but in both cases it's because of plans to widen the highway which have essentially forced them to be torn down. But even as this one closes, there are still about 5 left on the Illinois Tollway system, and all of them did get a major facelift about 15 years ago - which of course, was also just before the debut of Open Road Tolling that has helped to push them towards being obsolete!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,162

    Default Ah yes, technology

    That is interesting and you are correct, most modern tollways use electronic means for paying the tolls. Which, in places like southern California, means that you never have to slow down!

    Mark

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