Western access to O'Hare closer to reality

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Bensenville and other western suburban towns have been fighting for a western access road to the airport for years. (WLS)

The view from the window at Bensenville's village hall shows how close the runways at O'Hare are, but getting to the airport from here is another matter.

Bensenville and other western suburban towns have been fighting for a western access road to the airport for years.

"An agreement to sign a letter of intent with Canadian Pacific railroad is approved," said Tollway Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom after a vote at Wednesday's hastily-called board meeting. It means the Western access road is closer to reality.

"It's gonna save people time and money. It's gonna move goods and services across our county more efficiently, and at the end of the day it's going to benefit our residents," DuPage County board member Pete DiCianni said.

The current tollway construction project, extending what was formerly known as the Elgin O'Hare Expressway, ran into a roadblock when the Canadian Pacific Railroad refused to allow the road through their yard.

Tollway board members, however, agreed to drop a lawsuit against the railroad because they believe they are close to a deal. That's good news for western suburban towns like Bensenville and Elk Grove Village.

"A third of our town has been taken over by the O'Hare modernization program, but this will hopefully put us back on the right track," Bensenville Village president Frank DeSimone said.

Elk Grove Village president Craig Johnson added, "We've been pushing since 1985. We think it's vital for the area economically, transportationwise, and it needs to be done."

Experts say construction of the new roadway is sure to create millions of dollars in economic impact for the region.

"It will mean many thousands of jobs. Good paying jobs. Union jobs for people supporting their families and all kinds of side benefits for the Illinois economy," said Mike Sturino, president of the Illinois Road Builders Association.
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