Illinois Highway Toll Payment: Easy Tips for a Smooth Journey

Struggling with how to pay tolls on Illinois highways? You’re not alone. As you drive through the Tri-State or Jane Addams Memorial Tollways, you might wonder the best way to handle toll payments. Drive straight through and pay online later to avoid fines. Learn tips to make your travel smooth and stress-free. You won’t want to miss these insights!

Understanding Illinois Highway Tolls

If you are traveling through Illinois, you’ll encounter a network of tollways designed to streamline your journey.

Illinois Tollway System

The Illinois Tollway is a system of highways that spans across the state, offering a faster and more efficient travel experience. This system comprises several major tollways, each serving specific routes. You’ll find toll plazas equipped with electronic payment systems like I-PASS or E-ZPass, which help reduce traffic congestion. If you don’t have an electronic transponder, you can use the Pay By Plate option, allowing you to pay tolls online within 14 days. Failing to pay within this timeframe can result in additional fees and penalties.

Major Tollways

The Illinois Tollway includes several key roads:

  • Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80): This tollway encircles the Chicago metropolitan area, making it convenient for traveling around the city.
  • Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90): Running from Chicago to the Wisconsin state line, this route is essential for interstate travel.
  • Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88): Named after President Ronald Reagan, it connects Chicago’s western suburbs to the Quad Cities near Iowa.
  • Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355): This tollway helps you travel from the western suburbs down to I-80.
  • Illinois Route 390 Tollway: A newer addition, providing access to O’Hare International Airport and other important areas.

Each of these tollways offers specific benefits, making it easier to navigate both short and long-distance routes efficiently.

Toll Payment Options

When traveling on Illinois highways, you have various options to pay tolls effectively. These methods include using I-PASS, E-ZPass, Pay-By-Plate, cash, and credit card payments.


I-PASS is an electronic toll collection system. You attach a transponder to your vehicle, which automatically deducts toll fees when you pass through tollways. This service allows you to manage your account online and ensures quicker trips since you don’t have to stop at toll booths. I-PASS users also receive a discount on toll rates compared to cash payments.

If you often travel on Illinois highways, this is a convenient way to pay tolls securely. You can also replenish your I-PASS account online, making it easy to keep your balance in check.


E-ZPass is accepted on Illinois tollways and functions similarly to I-PASS. The transponder works across multiple states, making it useful for frequent interstate travelers. You can pay Illinois tolls directly through your E-ZPass account without the need to stop at toll plazas.

For those who already have an E-ZPass, there’s no need to get a separate I-PASS. Simply link your E-ZPass to your vehicle, and you’re good to go. This makes your trips smoother and helps avoid delays.


If you don’t have an I-PASS or E-ZPass, you can use the Pay-By-Plate system. This method lets you drive through the tollway, and the system will scan your license plate. Afterward, you can pay your toll online through the Illinois Tollway website within 14 days.

This service enables you to avoid stopping at booths and reduces traffic congestion. It’s perfect for occasional users who don’t travel on tollways frequently. Just make sure to pay within the timeframe to avoid fines.

Cash Payments

Cash payments are an option on some Illinois tollways, but they are becoming less common. Toll booths that still accept cash require you to stop and pay in person. It’s slower and often costs more than using electronic methods like I-PASS or E-ZPass.

Since many toll roads may not offer cash options, having an alternative method is helpful. Keep some change in your car if you plan to use this method on roads that still accept it.

Credit Card Payments

Credit card payments can be made online to settle your tolls. For missed tolls, use services like I-PASS or Pay-By-Plate to pay via credit card on the Illinois Tollway website.

This method is secure and convenient, especially for drivers who prefer not to carry cash. Setting up automatic payments on your card is useful to ensure you don’t miss due dates and avoid potential fines. This way, managing payments for your tollway usage becomes hassle-free.

Managing Unpaid Tolls

Knowing how to handle unpaid tolls is crucial if you frequently travel on Illinois highways. This guide will help you navigate unpaid toll notices, invoice processing, and potential fees or violations.

Unpaid Toll Notices

If you miss paying a toll, you’ll receive an unpaid toll notice. These notices provide detailed information, such as the date and time of the missed toll, and instructions on how to pay it. You can easily pay online through the Illinois Tollway website. It’s essential to address these notices promptly to avoid further complications.

Notices will also guide you through alternative payment methods like mail. Ignoring these notices could result in additional fines. Always keep a copy of your payment confirmation for your records.

Invoice Processing

When you receive an unpaid toll notice, an invoice is generated for the amount owed. This invoice can be paid online using the interactive map on the Illinois Tollway website. You may also fill out a form and mail it with a check or money order to the Illinois Tollway.

Processing your invoice promptly ensures you avoid any late fees. Make sure to print and save a receipt after payment. It’s crucial to use the correct toll amount and toll location details when paying by mail to ensure proper processing.

Late Fees and Violations

If you don’t pay your invoice on time, late fees will be added to your account. These fees can escalate quickly, leading to higher amounts owed. Unpaid tolls can also lead to violations, resulting in additional penalties and legal issues.

To avoid these consequences, pay your tolls as soon as you receive a notice or invoice. If you have an I-PASS or E-ZPass, keeping your account up to date can prevent late fees and violations. Always check your tollway account regularly to manage any outstanding payments.

Toll Transponders

Toll transponders offer a convenient way to pay tolls without stopping. They are widely used in Illinois through the I-PASS system and are compatible with E-ZPass tollways across the country.

Transponder Basics

Transponders are small electronic devices attached to your vehicle’s windshield. They work by communicating with toll plazas using radio frequency.

When you drive through a toll plaza, the transponder sends a signal to deduct the toll amount from your prepaid account. I-PASS transponders are popular in Illinois, and they help avoid the need to stop at toll booths.

One key benefit is toll discounts offered to I-PASS users, making it a cost-effective option. E-ZPass compatibility means you can use your I-PASS on many toll roads outside Illinois as well.

Purchasing Transponders

You can purchase an I-PASS transponder online or at various retail locations. To buy online, visit the Illinois Tollway website. The site guides you through creating an account and ordering a transponder.

Retail locations include Jewel-Osco stores and select Road Ranger outlets. These provide a quick way to get a transponder without waiting for shipping.

Each transponder costs around $30, which includes a pre-loaded toll credit. Remember to register your transponder to manage your account and replenish toll funds easily.

Maintaining Your Transponder

Proper maintenance ensures your transponder works correctly. Firstly, make sure it is securely attached to your windshield. If it falls off, it may fail to register tolls. Clean the area before attaching to ensure a good adhesive grip.

Check your account balance regularly. You can do this online through the Illinois Tollway website or the I-PASS app. Keeping your balance above the required threshold helps avoid fines.

If your transponder stops working, you may need to replace it. Retail locations and the tollway website offer options for replacement. Also, if you switch vehicles, update your license plate information to avoid mismatched toll charges.

By following these steps, you ensure seamless, hassle-free toll payments.


Paying tolls on Illinois highways is now easier than ever. You don’t need to worry about having cash on hand, as the state has moved to all-electronic payments.

You can use the I-Pass or E-ZPass for a seamless experience. If you don’t have one, don’t stress. Simply drive through the tollway.

Use the Pay By Plate option to pay online up to 14 days after your trip. This can be done by looking up your license plate on the official Illinois Tollway website.

For more information, stay updated by visiting the Illinois Tollway website. It provides real-time updates on road conditions and incidents, helping you plan your journey efficiently.

Here are some tips:

  • Register your license plate for easier toll payments.
  • Check your email for invoices if you miss the 14-day window.
  • Visit the Illinois tollway site regularly for any updates or changes in rules.

Happy travels!

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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