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I-90 Toll Booth Misery – The Road Less Taken By Choice

Find out what happens when you miss a toll booth and get our toll both travel tip.

A slight mishap on a crowded Interstate in Illinois leaves us to wonder why we even went this route in the first place. On our recent trip back to Minnesota from South Carolina we simply relied a little too much on our Garmin Navigation System to get us home. Mapping out our route and giving us an approximate travel time is all routine and you automatically assume it will give you the quickest and safest route available. In case you’re wondering where this is going, the key word in that last sentence was ‘assume’.

Our road trip was going well and then we crossed over into the Illinois road construction zone.

This is by no means a light project. This is a major over haul. Billed at $2.2 billion and dubbed the ‘Jane Addams Memorial Tollway’ (I-90), it plans on rebuilding the eastbound lanes between Rockford and Elgin, IL. This major part of the American landscape is long due for not only repair, but for strengthening as well. Infrastructure repair is good and can also be seen as I sign of progress.

Map courtesy of the Illinoistollway website. Construction and planning/projects by roadway

The above map is courtesy of the Illinois tollway website showing construction and planning/projects by roadway. Now lets throw in the toll booths to this whole driving experience and you have a major headache.

Literally, I had driven white knuckle for so long that the veins in my neck were standing out like cord wood. Between the crazy lane changes and the weather (heavy rain), I was ready to pull over or just get through it as quickly as possible. We have driven this way before and we knew the toll booth were there. Having our money ready we made our offering to the road funding on every pass that we could. Until…

I missed a toll booth.

There was no way around it. The signs alerting me to it’s upcoming presence we’re duly noted but there was just no way for me to get the car over to the lane. I drove past as Silke pointed it out to me, but all I could do was stay in my lane and maintain my speed to keep with the flow of traffic.

It may have looked like I had avoided paying it, but even I knew that thanks to modern technology, this was not going to be the case.

Exactly one month later.

I got a letter from PlatePass informing me that my road adventure had not gone unnoticed. The toll fee was added to a $25.00 handling charge as well, bringing my single missed toll booth from $1.25 to $26.25. An expensive toll fee to say the least.

Tool Booth Fine. Have A Nice Day!

This handling fee was properly disclosed in the Hertz rental agreement that I signed when the car was picked up.

Toll Both Travel Tip

It quickly became apparent to me that I would have been better off just driving past all of the toll booths and gotten my $25.00 worth for all of them instead of just one.


The icing on the cake is that on the way back we actually took a different route to get home.

The new route brought us down through Iowa and then over to the East Coast, bypassing Illinois all together. Going back took just as long as it did getting their! Less headache and no time lost would have been worth more in the long run.

People take that road through Chicago every day and I don’t believe that a mutiny is occurring as we speak to just boycott this whole section of road. I’m sure once the project is completed it will be better than it was before and offer more room for more people.

For someone who’s livelihood depends on this section of toll road, all the more power to you. For a casual passerby like myself, no thank you. I’ll find a different route without toll booths.

Do you have a toll both travel tips for us? Please share it with us in the comment section below!


The Jager’s, a Husband & wife team, share your enthusiasm for a lifestyle filled with amazing food, travel and fun!

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