Paying tolls on the Illinois Tollway can be confusing and nerve-racking, especially if you've never done it before. The amount you need to pay varies by toll location, and each toll collection point has several lanes for different types of payment. You can pay tolls one of 3 ways: in cash at the toll, with an I-PASS, or online within 7 days of driving through the toll. If you plan to regularly drive on the Tollway, buying an I-PASS is the most convenient and cheapest option.
Method 1 of 4:Paying Tolls with Cash
1Find out how much you'll have to pay with the Tollway's Trip Calculator. Visit the website https://www.getipass.com/trip-calculator. Enter all the information about your trip, including: where you'll be entering and exiting the Tollway, what class of vehicle you'll be driving, and what method of payment you'll be using. Click the green “Get Route” button, and you'll see the estimated total cost of the tolls you'll have to pay.
While the information provided by this trip calculator is usually accurate, there is always a chance of an error. Carry extra cash just in case.
2Watch for advance signs that mark upcoming toll collection points. You will usually see the first sign 1 mile (1.6 km) before the toll collection point and at least one other sign right before the toll collection point. These signs include information about which road lane you'll have to be in to pay in cash.
Advance signs for mainline toll plazas – which are toll collection points on main highways –are usually large green signs with yellow bars.
3Merge right to pay cash at toll collection points on the main highway. Just before the toll collection point, the right lane of the highway will break away from the main highway like a highway exit. Stay in the right lane as you approach this junction and merge right.
Slow down as you exit the highway and follow the posted speed limit.
4Look for an open toll booth that accepts cash payment. After pulling off the main highway, you'll see several toll booths. Look for a toll booth that is open and has a “$” sign posted above it.
Toll booths at mainline toll plazas will usually have a green arrow posted overhead to indicate that they are open.
Toll booths that are closed are usually marked with a red X.
5Keep small denomination dollar bills and coins on hand to pay the tolls. Tolls charged at toll collection points on the Illinois Tollway vary from under $1 to just under $4 for passenger vehicles. Unless you're driving only a short distance on the Tollway, you'll come across multiple toll collection points on your trip. For this reason, make sure you carry enough cash to cover all the tolls you'll need to pay.
If you'll be driving a large commercial truck with more than 5 axles or a passenger vehicle with a trailer with 3 or more axles, you may need to pay as much as $11.90 at some tolls.
Toll collectors cannot accept bills that are larger than $50, so carrying $100 won't be of any help.
Toll collectors will give you a receipt if you request one.
6Use cash, coins, or credit cards to pay tolls at Self Service Lanes. Most ramp plazas—toll collection points located on on ramps to the Tollway—feature Self Service Lanes. These Self Service Lanes are unattended and have automatic toll payment machines. The machines, however, do not provide change, so you'll have to have exact change on hand if you're paying in cash.
You can also use the I-Pass at these locations.
7Pay with coins and use exact change at ramp plazas with coin baskets. Coin baskets do not accept cash, and because they're unmanned, there's no way to receive change. If you encounter a coin basket, just toss your coins into the basket and drive through.
If you don't have coins or exact change on hand, make a mental note of the plaza's name and location and pay your toll online within the 7-day grace period at https://www.getipass.com/payunpaid.
Method 2 of 4:Purchasing the I-PASS
1Evaluate how often you'll be travelling on the tollway. If you'll be driving on the tollway on a regular basis, consider purchasing an I-PASS. The I-PASS is a prepaid electronic toll collection system. The system relies on a transponder, a small radio-frequency identified device, that you mount on your vehicle. If you have an I-PASS transponder, you can drive through open road tolling lanes and the toll will be automatically deducted from a prepaid account. This means you don't have to stop at any toll plazas to pay your tolls.
You can use I-PASS on every toll lane on the Illinois Tollway.
Using an I-PASS will also save you about 50 percent on all tolls.
2Purchase an I-Pass online if you have internet access. Visit https://www.getipass.com to create an I-PASS account and submit a request for an I-PASS transponder. After you create your account and submit your order, expect to receive your I-PASS transponder within 2 weeks. To open an I-PASS account online, prepare the following information:
Credit/debit card information
Personal information of account holder
Driver's license number
Model/make/year of vehicle
License plate number and type
3Order your I-Pass via phone if you'd like to talk to someone. If you want to order your I-PASS by phone, call the Illinois Tollway Customer Call Center at 800-824-7277. Prepare the same information you'd need when ordering online.
The Customer Call Center is open 7 days a week.
On weekdays, the Call Center is open from 6:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.
On weekends, the Call Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4Request an I-Pass by mail if you'd prefer not to use technology. To order an I-PASS by mail, print and fill out an application form. You can find this application form on the Illinois Tollway's website: https://www.illinoistollway.com. Then, write a $30 check to the Illinois Tollway, and mail the completed application form and check to:
I-PASS Customer Service, 2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515
5Pick up an I-PASS at an oasis or a local retailer if you want one ASAP. For a list of oases along the Illinois Tollway where you can buy an I-PASS transponder, visit the Illinois Tollway website. You can also find I-PASS transponders at around 200 Jewel-Osco grocery stores and a few Road Ranger locations.
Jewel-Osco charges a $2.90 service charge per responder.
If you buy an I-PASS transponder from a Jewel-Osco or Road Ranger store, you'll need to activate it online at https://www.getipass.com or by phone by calling 1-800-824-7277.
You don't need to activate an I-PASS transponder if you buy it at a Tollway customer service center at an oasis.
Method 3 of 4:Using an I-PASS
1Mount the I-PASS transponder on the inside of your front windshield. Position the transponder so that it is 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the metal roofline and 1 inch (2.5 cm) to the right or left of the rearview mirror post.
If you have a Jeep or other vehicle with a vertical windshield, mount the transponder in the center of your front windshield, 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5.1 cm) from the bottom.
2Ask about using a License Plate Tag if the transponder doesn't work. The windshields of some vehicles contain metal components that interfere with I-PASS transponders. If you have one of these vehicle models, you'll need to use a special I-PASS License Plate Tag (LPT) instead of a transponder mounted on your front windshield. Features that may interfere with the I-PASS transponder, include:
Solar ray glass
Heat reflective windshields
Insulated or Insta-Clear glass
Compass/Temperature in rear-view mirror
3Remember to keep enough money in your I-PASS account. You can add money to your I-PASS online, by phone or mail, or by visiting a customer service center. You can also choose to enroll in the Automatic Balance Replenishment Program, in which the Tollway will charge your debit or credit card whenever your account balance drops below a certain amount.
Mail: I-PASS Replenish, P.O. Box 5544, Chicago, IL 60680-5544
Method 4 of 4:Settling an Unpaid Toll
1Pay online if you missed a toll in the last 7 days. Visit https://www.getipass.com/trip-calculator and enter information about where you entered the tollway and where you exited. Then click on the green “Pay Unpaid Tolls Online” button and enter your vehicle and payment information.
If you missed the toll more than 7 days ago, you won't be able to pay the toll online.
If a police officer gave you a citation for the unpaid toll, you also won't be able to pay it online.
2Submit your payment for a missed toll by mail within 7 days. If you can't or don't want to pay online, complete and submit an “Unpaid Toll Payment” form by mail, along with a check or money order for the full amount of the toll. You can find the form on the Illinois Tollway's website. Send the form and money to:
Illinois Tollway, P.O. Box 5382, Chicago, IL 60680-5382
3Respond to a Notice of Toll Violation within 30 days of its issue date. If you fail to pay 3 or more tolls within a 12-month period, you will receive a Notice of Toll Violation from the Illinois Tollway. You will have to pay the full amount of the tolls you missed and any fines for the violations.
Failure to pay outstanding tolls and fines may result in the suspension of your driving privileges and/or your vehicle registration.