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State interstates speed limit increases to 70 mph

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

As of Wednesday, a new law increased the speed limit on state interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph.

The law, signed in August, increases the maximum speed limit on Illinois interstates from 65 to 70 mph, where deemed reasonable and safe. Drivers must to continue to watch for signs and obey the posted speed limits.

“IDOT crews will begin to remove the old 65 mph signs and install the new 70 mph signs in the designated areas early January to comply with the new law, but it’s very important that motorists obey the posted speed limits,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said in a news release from the state. “We encourage motorists to respect and obey all Illinois traffic laws, buckle their seatbelts and avoid distractions to help ensure everyone makes it to their destinations safely.”

Kristi Lafleur, Illinois Tollway executive director, reminds motorists to always obey the posted speed limit while driving on the tollway and all Illinois roads.

“The new 70 mph speed limit goes into effect on segments of our system that can accommodate the higher speed while still maintaining the safety of our customers, which is always our primary concern,” she said in the news release.

About 87 percent of interstate highways and 98 percent of rural interstates will be increased to 70 mph, according to the news release. About 28 percent of the tollway’s 286-mile system will be increased to 70 mph. 

Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said most people on the interstates going through the local area are already traveling faster than the posted 65 mph. He does not anticipate local authorities facing too many problems with the change.

The interstates going through more suburban areas will stay at the current posted speeds, he said.

IDOT fabricated about 900 new 70 mph signs, which are made with recycled materials. The signs will be installed between Jan. 2 and Jan. 17, weather permitting. The total cost for the new signs is estimated at $200,000.

For the Illinois Tollway, new signs will be installed between Jan. 7 and Jan. 14 on a 64-mile segment of the Reagan Memorial Tollway, Interstate 88 and on a 15-mile portion of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, I-90, for about $18,000, according to the release.

The new law includes an additional safety provision, which lowers the limit by five mph at which drivers may be charged with excessive speeding. Currently, the threshold for penalties is 31 mph over the limit. The new law lowers that to 26 mph over the limit.

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