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Our View: Slow down in the suburbs

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Now that we’ve thawed from last week’s deep freeze, Illinois Department of Transportation crews hope to install about 900 new speed limit signs across the state.

Unfortunately, hardly any of those signs will be installed along toll roads in the Chicago area.

You’ll recall that as of Jan. 1, a new law increasing the maximum speed limit on Illinois’ toll roads and interstates to 70 mph went into effect. The delay in posting the signs is because the crews in charge of switching the speed-limit signs were busy with other tasks. IDOT had 1,755 trucks assigned to snow duty statewide and 3,700 full- and part-time employees were available to clear roads.

We supported the idea of increasing the speed limit to 70 mph when the law was first discussed early last year. We still support the increase and are disappointed more Chicago-area roads will not being seeing an increase in the posted speed limit.

The move is good for business. It’s helpful for businesses to have truck drivers arrive earlier to their destinations. Plus, 34 states already have speed limits of 70 mph or higher, including neighboring Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri.

Those trucks now will have to slow down when they reach Chicago’s suburbs. Those who drive 70 mph already in the suburbs likely will continue doing so – illegally.

State Rep. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, has vowed to fight IDOT over its decision to keep the speed limit on Chicago-area toll roads at 55 mph. He said it’s clear more than 85 percent of motorists on all expressways are traveling 70 mph or faster.

“It’s unacceptable. They’re putting law-abiding citizens into danger,” Oberweis told the Chicago Tribune.

The faster speed limits mean motorists must maintain a high level of alertness. Enjoy your faster interstates, but be mindful of when and where it is legal to travel 70 mph. 

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