Cashless tolls begin on Elgin-O'Hare Expressway in suburban Chicago

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Tolls are starting on the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway Route 390 in suburban Chicago. (WLS)

Tolls are starting on the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway Route 390 in suburban Chicago.

The tolls for the western section from Lake Street to I-290 became active Tuesday, with toll plazas at Lake Street, Mitchell Boulevard and Plum Grove Road.

It's the first cashless tollway in the system, meaning drivers will have to use an I-PASS or pay the tolls later online.

Those with I-PASS will pay 20 to 60 cents per toll, and those paying online will pay twice that. Drivers without I-PASS must pay online or by mail within seven days to avoid fines. The cost to travel 6.5 miles from Lake Street to I-290 on the all-electronic road is $2.50, or $1.25 for people with transponders.

Truck tolls range from 40 cents to $3.10 per toll, with cheaper tolls during overnight hours.

By the end of 2017, tolls on the eastern segment from I-290 to Illinois Route 83 will become active.

For more information click here.

Our news partner The Daily Herald reports some commuters are vowing to avoid the route. Eileen Szubert of Bartlett says she'll use Lake Street and other local roads to get to work in Itasca. It will take her 10 to 15 minutes more, but she figures it will save $2.50 a day for a round trip.

"It's hard enough to make ends meet and have some fun without having to give another hundred to the state," Szubert said.

Tollway authorities promise a fast and reliable corridor. But many drivers aren't buying it. Rick Esberner said he uses it to get to his cancer treatments every day.

"I'm retired. I can't afford it. I'm on a limited income, and I can't afford the tollway anymore," he said.

"I have to pay it regardless," said commuter Duane Stallworth. "I have to travel this way, so there's not much I can do besides pay it. Am I a fan? Am I happy about it? No."

Tollway officials say in exchange for the tolls, drivers get new ramps linking to 290 and a quick drive without stoplights; eventually the road will extend along Thorndale and reach Route 83 by 2017.

"It's almost typical for Illinois. I almost come to expect these kinds of things," said commuter Dan Becker. "And that's kind of how it is."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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