PACE buses will soon be driving on the shoulders of Interstate 55, the Stevenson Expressway, in and around Chicago. The new project is expected to save riders up to a half hour in a round-trip commute.
Buses can use designated shoulders only during rush hour and only when traffic is moving under 35 miles per hour. Marva Boyd is with the Illinois Department of Transportation. She said the state will use federal money to keep debris clear from the highway and its shoulders.
"At all times, the shoulders will continue to serve their primary purpose of providing a place for motorists to pull over if necessary - for example in the event of a vehicle breakdown, a flat tire, etc," Boyd said.
Boyd added that Illinois state police will make sure drivers don't follow buses into the special lane. Two PACE bus routes, route 755 and 855, are scheduled to start using the highway's shoulder on November 14th.
If the pilot project goes well, transportation officials say they may expand it to other area roadways. The Bus on Shoulder program was chosen to start on this highway because of a $35 million dollar project ending this month that resurfaced the Stevenson Exrepssway and improved its shoulders.