Interstate 88 (Western)

History
East End
West End
I-88 east end at I-290

A former button copy end sign for Interstate 88. Photo by Don Hargraves (09/02).

Overview

Formerly IL 5, and before that IL 190, the western Interstate 88 is the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway and the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway from Interstate 80 near the Quad Cities east to the I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) and I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) interchange near Hillside. Until 2004, the toll road section from Sterling east to Hillside was known as the East-West Tollway.

Interstate 88 provides an alternative to I-80 between the Quad Cities area and Chicago, especially points north and west of the Loop. The tollway passes through Dixon, which is the boyhood home of former President Ronald Reagan.

History

Interstate 88 was commissioned in July 2, 1987,1 replacing former IL 5. AASHTO previously approved the designation subject to FHWA concurrence on May 25, 1987. The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority indicated that the renumbering was necessary so that they could raise the speed limit to 65 MPH due to a federal law at the time that allowed states to increase speed limits on highways designated as Interstates. The limit was increased between Napierville and Rock Falls.4 A similar process occurred with the unnumbered portion of the Kansas Turnpike, which was designated Interstate 335 to allow for 65 MPH speed limits.

The section of Interstate 88 (East-West Tollway) from I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) west to Aurora was built between 1956 and 1958. The original construction of the 28-mile initial section of the East-West Tollway (and the other original tollways) was funded by a bond issuance in the amount of $415 million by the state tollway commission (which was created in 1953).2,3 All of the urban tollways (including the Northwest Tollway, the easternmost portion of the East-West Tollway, the Tri-State Tollway, and the Chicago Skyway) were open to traffic by 1958.

The second major section of the East-West Tollway opened was 69 miles long, from IL 56 in Aurora west to IL 40 near Sterling and Rock Falls. This portion was funded with a bond issuance by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority in 1970. This route was shown as under construction in the 1972 Rand McNally Road Atlas and as complete in 1974. The Illinois Department of Transportation built the remainder of the highway from the interchange with IL 40 west to the Quad Cities in the 1970s; this section is toll free.

The first segment of the East-West Tollway (Aurora to Chicago) was originally designated as U.S. 30 Toll. It was changed to IL 190 in 1965 and renumbered again to IL 5 in 1972 (before the extension to the Quad Cities was completed).

Route Information

  • East End – Elmhurst, IL
  • West End – East Moline, IL
  • Branch Routes – 0

  • Mileage – 140.60
  • Cities – Sterling, Rock Falls, Rochelle, DeKalb, Aurora, Naperville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Elmhurst
  • JunctionsI-80 I-39 I-355 I-294 I-290

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

East-West Tollway - 1964
The East-West Tollway ran 29.8 miles from Sugar Grove to Hillside in 1964.

The East-West Tollway carried the designation of U.S. 30 Toll until 1965, when it was renumbered to IL 190. The original west end of the tollway to Sugar Grove was eventually designated as IL 56.

Northwest Illinois - 1970
Northwest Illinois – 1970.

The original studies for the East-West Tollway included a route northwest to Clinton, Iowa. It was determined however that traffic on the proposed route would not be high enough to justify construction.5

Northern Illinois - 1973
IL 5 (East West Tollway) under construction – 1973 Illinois Official Highway Map.

IL 5 was extended west from Interstate 80 to Rock Island in 1975. The route within the Quad Cities remained after the 1987 commissioning of Interstate 88.

Highway Guides

East End I-290 I-294 IL 110 – Elmhurst, Illinois

Perspective from Interstate 88 & Illinois 110 (CKC) east
Mileage signage before the York Road toll plaza giving distances to the Tri-State Tollway and the Eisenhower Expressway. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Continuing beyond the York Toll plaza, I-88 & IL 110 approach the ramp for I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) southbound. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Traffic headed south on the Tri-State Tollway to I-80 and the Kingery Expressway east to Northwest Indiana departs from I-88 & IL 110 (CKC) east. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
A collector distributor lane takes motorists from Interstate 88 east to both I-290 (Eisenhower Extension) west and I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) north. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Guide sign on Interstate 88 east for the northbound exit to the Tri-State Tollway toward Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Interstate 88 eastbound partitions into a two-lane ramp for I-290 west and I-294 north and the mainline connection with the Inbound Eisenhower Expressway to Chicago. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Interstate 88 concludes at I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) east ahead of a c/d roadway for U.S. 12-20-45 and Manheim Road. This portion of the Hillside Strangler interchange was reconstructed in 2001-02. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Interstate 88 end sign posted at the wye interchange joining the Ronald Reagan East-West Tollway with the Inbound Eisenhower Expressway. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
The unnumbered ramp for Manheim Road and U.S. 12-20-45 separates as the I-88 mainline joins inbound Interstate 290. Downtown Chicago lies 15 miles to the east. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (08/16/02).
Perspective from Interstate 290 west
The Outbound Eisenhower Expressway advances 1.5 miles from U.S. 12-20-45 / Mannheim Road (Exit 17) to the split with Interstate 88. The forthcoming exchange is commonly known as the Hillside Strangler due to commute hour delays and back-ups. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
Motorists destined for the Tri-State Tollway separate with I-88 providing the connection to I-294 south. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
Entering the Hillside Strangler interchange along the I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway). Exit 15A leads to the Ronald Reagan East-West Tollway west to Aurora and the Quad Cities and the Tri-State Tollway south to Joliet and Hammond, Indiana. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
Interstate 290 branches northwest from I-88 and IL 110 (CKC) along the Eisenhower Extension to Rockford and Exit 15B for the Tri-State Tollway north to O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Milwaukee. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
Perspective from Interstate 88 & IL 110 (CKC) west
Continuing through the Hillside Strangler interchange, I-88 & IL 110 first meet the off-ramp for I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) south and IL 38 (Roosevelt Road). Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/07).
Two lanes depart for the unnumbered exit linking I-88 & IL 110 (CKC) west with I-294 south and IL 38 (Roosevelt Road). Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
The first confirming marker for Interstate 88 west appears after traffic from Interstate 294 merges onto the East-West Tollway. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/14/06).
Perspective from Interstate 294 north
Interstate 294 (Tri-State Tollway) northbound at U.S. 34 (Ogden Avenue), two miles from the connector to Interstate 88 west. The control point is the far western suburb of Aurora, 21 miles out. U.S. 34 see its eastern terminus a short distance to the east. Photo taken 09/03/05.
One mile ahead of Ronald Reagan East-West Tollway on Interstate 294 north. Interstate 88 also serves De Kalb and the Quad Cities. Photo taken 09/03/05.
An additional northbound lane opens along I-294 for I-88 & IL 110 (Chicago Kansas City Expressway). Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Two lanes leave the Tri-State Tollway north for Interstate 88 & IL 110 west. Succeeding ramps connect with IL 38 (Roosevelt Road) and I-290 (Eisenhower Extension). Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Perspective from Interstate 294 south
Southbound Interstate 294 meets I-290 (Eisenhower Extension) west, with the two freeways running side by side to the Hillside Strangler interchange with I-88 in 1.75 miles. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Interstate 290 angles southeast from the Tri-State Tollway toward the Inbound Eisenhower Expressway. I-88 combines with the freeway at the east end of the Hillside Strangler interchange. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
Motorists bound for Downtown Chicago part ways with the Tri-State Tollway south. The westbound ramp for I-88 (Ronald Reagan East-West Tollway) follows in 0.75 miles. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).
I-294 south at I-88 west to Aurora and Moline. The northern fork of Interstate 88 originates from I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) just to the east, while the southern fork ties into Interstate 294 south beyond the Cermak Road interchange. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/02).

West End I-80 IL-5 IL 92 IL 110 – East Moline, Illinois

I-88 IL 92 IL 110 West at I-80 IL 5

I-88/IL 92-110 west at I-80 - East Moline

I-88/IL 92-110 (Chicago Kansas City Expressway) west parallel Zuma Creek across an agricultural area on the two mile approach to Exits 1B/A with Interstate 80. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 92-110 west at I-80 - East Moline

Old IL 2 ties into Interstate 88 just east of the cloverleaf interchange with I-80 and IL 5. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 92-110 west at I-80 - East Moline

Exit 1B forms a collector distributor roadway from Old IL 2 to Interstate 80 west for Bettendorf, Davenport and Des Moines. Iowa. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 92-110 west at I-80 - East Moline

Exit 1B forms a collector distributor roadway from Old IL 2 to Interstate 80 west for Bettendorf, Davenport and Des Moines. Iowa. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 92 west at IL 5 - East Moline

Interstate 88 west becomes IL 5 just beyond I-80/IL 110 (CKC). IL 5 joins IL 92 along an at-grade expressway southwest to Silvis. 04/08/13

IL 5 IL 92 East at I-88 I-80 IL 110

IL 5/92 east at I-80/88 - East Moline

Heading northeast through East Moline, IL 5/92 advance one mile east to the cloverleaf interchange (Exits 1A/B) joining I-88 with I-80/IL 110 (CKC). 04/08/13

IL 5/92 east at I-80/88 - East Moline

IL 5/92 upgrade to a freeway beyond the intersection with Hubbard Road and 193rd Street N and a half mile ahead of the exchange with Interstate 80 and IL 110 (CKC). 04/08/13

IL 5/92 east at I-80/88 - East Moline

Illinois Route 5 ends as Interstate 88 begins. The drive east to Aurora is generally rural. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 5-92 east at I-80/IL 110 - East Moline

I-80 east combines with IL 110 (CKC) south from I-88 (Exit 1A) to Interstate 74 at the Big X Interchange in Colona. 04/08/13

I-88/IL 92 east at I-80/IL 110 - East Moline

The ramps for I-80 along I-88/IL 92 eastbound are unnumbered. I-80 travels north to Rapids City and across the Mississippi River to LeClaire, Iowa. 03/12/17

I-88/IL 92-110 east at Old IL 2 - East Moline

I-88/IL 92-110 (CKC) enter a diamond interchange (Exit 2) with Old IL 2 to the immediate east of Interstate 80. IL 2 remains in service northeast of Dixon along the Rock River. 03/12/17

I-88/IL 92-110 east at Old IL 2 - East Moline

The first confirming marker for I-88 stands along the rural stretch leading from East Moline to Joslin. 03/12/17

I-80 East at I-88 IL 5 IL 92 IL 110

I-80 east at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline

The Mississippi Rapids rest area and welcome center lies two miles north of the exchange joining Interstate 80 east with I-88 east, IL 5 west and IL 92. 12/25/19

I-80 east at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline

One mile north of Exits 4A/B with I-88 and IL 5, IL 92 and IL 110 (CKC). IL 92 is part of a multi-state route beginning in Torrington, Wyoming and ending at U.S. 34 near La Moille, Illinois. IL 5 west encircles southern reaches of Moline and Rock Island from East Moline to U.S. 67. 05/28/18

I-80 east at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline

The initial 44 miles of Interstate 88 east is the toll free Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway. Beyond U.S. 30 (Exit 44), I-88 follows the Ronald Reagan East-West Tollway past Rochelle (I-39/U.S. 51), De Kalb, Aurora and Naperville before ending at the merge with I-290 just outside Chicago. 03/12/17

I-80 east at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline

Eastbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 4A to IL 5/92 west to Silvis, East Moline and Moline. The succeeding ramp (Exit 4B) connects with I-88/IL 110 (Chicago Kansas City Expressway) east to Sterling and Rock Falls. 12/25/19

I-80 east at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline

Interstate 88 begins where IL 5 ends below I-80 at Exit 4B. IL 92 combines with the freeway east to Joslin (Exit 6). IL 110 (CKC) overlays all of the route to I-290. 12/25/19

I-80 West IL 110 East at I-88 IL 5 IL 92

I-80 west at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline, IL

The first sign for the interchange with I-88 and IL 5/92 precedes the Rock River and the Rock Island County line along I-80 west / IL 110 (CKC) east. 03/31/16

I-80 west at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline, IL

Advancing north across Barstow Road, one mile south of the cloverleaf interchange (Exits 4A/B) with I-88, IL 5 west and IL 92. IL 5remains west from I-88 as a 15-mile route serving Silvis, East Moline, Moline and Rock Island. 03/31/16

I-80 west at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline, IL

Interstate 80 and IL 110 (CKC) separate in one mile at Exit 4B for I-88/IL 92 east to Sterling and Rock Falls. The Chicago-Kansas City Expressway overlays all of Interstate 88 to I-290. 03/31/16

I-80 west at I-88/IL 5-92 - East Moline, IL

I-80 west / IL 110 (CKC) east reach Exit 4A for I-88/IL 92 east to Sterling and Rock Falls and the East-West Tollway to Rochelle, De Kalb and Aurora. The succeeding ramp (Exit 4B) connects with IL 5/92 west to Silvis and East Moline. 03/31/16

Sources:

  1. Personal Email from Jason Hancock on 07/09/06, citing an article from the Moline Daily Dispatch on 7/29/87.
  2. Encyclopedia of Chicago: Expressways by Dennis McClendon of the Chicago Historical Society.
  3. Encyclopedia of Chicago: Tollways by David M. Young of the Chicago Historical Society.
  4. “East-West Tollway now I- 88 – speed 65 in one area.” Chicago Sun-Times, July 2, 1987.
  5. “Motor Club To Hear Study On Tollway.” Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1963.

Page updated May 8, 2020.