Chicago-area gasoline prices are among the highest in the U.S., but motorists who use the Illinois Tollway apparently didn’t hear the news.
Last Friday was the busiest day in Tollway history, with more than 2.8 million toll transactions, officials said Thursday.
“It was a banner day,” said Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
It topped several days in the summer of 2011, before the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority board hiked tolls 87.5 percent on passenger vehicles the following January.
The new mark reflects a trend that officials say started late last year, with car traffic up three percent and truck volume jumping six percent over the same six months of 2012.
Toll transactions for May were up 2.9 percent over the same month in 2013, with car volume up 2.8 percent and truck traffic rising 4.3 percent, Lafleur said.
Historically, Tollway traffic rose over the years until 2004, then declined when the agency’s systemwide construction program began. The 2008 recession also hurt.
Officials credit the increased traffic on continuing economic expansion, employment growth and Tollway system improvements.
The Tollway said over 87 percent of toll transactions are made with I-PASS transponders.
Officials predict more record-setting days this summer, especially Fridays when motorists start to head out of town for the weekend.
The Tollway’s traffic-watchers had a tip: The best time to start a weekend trip is Thursday before 1 p.m., and on Fridays between 10 and 11 a.m., and after 7 p.m.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun