Interstate 90 in Indiana
Interstate 90 or I -90 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Indiana. The highway forms an east-west route through the north of the state, from the Illinois border at Whiting to the Ohio border at Metz. The entire route is a toll road, part of the Indiana Toll Road. There is also a long double numbering with Interstate 80 between Gary and the Ohio border. Interstate 90 is 253 kilometers long in Indiana.
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Interstate 90 in Illinois crosses the border with Indiana at Chicago, after which the highway runs parallel to Lake Michigan, through the Indiana suburbs. This part of the agglomeration is mainly industrial. There are huge industrial estates in Whiting and East Chicago. Whiting is home to the Midwest’s largest oil refinery. A larger suburb is Hammond with 83,000 inhabitants. The largest suburb is Gary, a city not well known for its skyrocketing crime rate. There is a heavy steel industry here. Interstate 65. ends on the east side of Garyfrom Indianapolis and further south on Interstate 90. This part of Indiana is still in the Illinois time zone, so commuters to Chicago aren’t stuck with two time zones. A second important junction follows at Portage, where Interstate 80 meets I-90. From here, Interstate 94, which merged with I-80, continues northeast to Michigan City and Detroit.
The closed toll system starts at Portage, you get a ticket when entering the toll road, and you have to pay when you drive off, the toll then depends on the distance driven. From Portage to the Ohio border, the toll is $4.15 for 214 miles. This amounts to only 2 cents per kilometer, which is barely 1 cent at the time of January 2008. This is much cheaper than the European toll roads, which often charge more than 10 cents per kilometre.
The Indiana Toll Road near South Bend.
One leaves the Chicago metropolitan area, and the road runs through agricultural areas. The next town is not really far, namely South Bend, a town of 108,000 inhabitants. Typical for the highway is the few exits, in contrast to the normal Interstates where almost every intersecting (country) road has a connection. The highway runs very close to the Michigan border in places, just before South Bend, barely 100 yards away. At South Bend, you pass US 31, which has been designed as a highway here, forming the southern bypass of South Bend and Elkhart. The highway also runs into Michigan, to Benton Harbor and Saint Joseph. Although the highway passes some distance from downtown, South Bend has a fairly large “Urban Sprawl”, which extends into Michigan. I-90 runs through here.
Interstate 90 continues to run close to the Michigan border after South Bend. At exits, the welcome signs can already be seen on the connecting roads. At Angola, the highway intersects with Interstate 69, which runs to Fort Wayne and Indianapolis to the south, and to the north to Lansing and Flint in Michigan. After this, Interstate 90 turns slightly southeast, intersecting the Indiana-Ohio state line at Metz. Just before the border is the Eastpoint Toll Barrier. This is only a small toll plaza due to the low amount of traffic. Here Interstate 90 continues in Ohio.
The Indiana Toll Road was built in the 1950’s and opened east to west between August and November 1956. The opening ceremony was held on September 17, 1956. In addition to the East-West Toll Road, there was also a North-South Toll Road planned, the route of the current Interstate 65, but it was never built, because the Interstate Highway plan was rolled out shortly after opening. The Indiana Tollroad is considered the “main street of the Midwest”.
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|Illinois state line||Ohio state line||252 km||17-09-1956|
I-90 is a toll road, part of the Indiana Toll Road. Tolls are low compared to Europe. The rural section east of Portage has a closed ticket toll system. The Chicago suburbs have an open toll system.
The toll road was originally administered by the Indiana Toll Road Commission between 1956 and 1981, and then by the Indiana Department of Transportation between 1981 and 2007. In 2006, the toll road was privatized and came under the management of a joint venture between Cintra Macquarie. As part of Governor Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves plan, the concession would be awarded for a 75-year term in exchange for a $3.8 billion one-time payment to the state of Indiana. $700 million of this was subsequently spent building Interstate 69 in southwestern Indiana.
In 2014, the Cintra-Macquarie consortium went bankrupt due to the economic crisis and lower than expected toll revenues. The concession was subsequently awarded to IFM Partners, an Australian investment company.
The section through East Chicago is fairly quiet with only 30,000 vehicles per day, as I-80 and I-94 handle through traffic a little further south. Gary has a low peak with 42,000 vehicles. The rest of the toll road section generally has between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles.