The speed limits on tollways in Kane County will go up — but not universally to 70 mph — if a committee’s March 12 recommendations are OK’d by the full Tollway Board on March 26, 2015.
The Illinois Tollway’s Customer Service and Planning Committee recommended March 12 that the agency increase speed limits on several segments of roadway along the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355).
A 70 mph speed limit law change was presented by state Sen. Jim Oberweis a few years ago, and Senate Bills 2015 and 930, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2014, allowed speed limits to increase where appropriate statewide. For the past several years, however, the Illinois Tollway’s traffic engineer has been conducting and reviewing engineering and traffic studies for portions of the tollway to determine potential speed limit increases.
“The Tollway’s Traffic Engineer, a nationally recognized expert, reviewed speed limits on our system and has identified portions of our roadways where increases can be safely implemented,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “As we continue to move these recommendations forward and seek approval from the Tollway Board of Directors and the Illinois Department of Transportation, I want to remind our customers to always obey the posted speed limit and watch closely for work zone speed limit signs, especially as we start our construction season within the next few weeks.”
Based on prior state legislation, speed limits increased to 70 mph in areas outside of Kane County — specifically, on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) west of the I-39 interchange in Winnebago County and on the western portion of the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb, Ogle and Lee counties.
If the March 12 recommendations are approved, about 62 percent of the tollway system will have had speed limits increased over the last five years.
“Speed limits on the portions of I-90 not previously studied will be reviewed once sufficient data on the newly reconstructed sections has been collected,” a tollways press release said.
Adjustment of speed limits on the remaining 62 miles of I-90 could bring that number as high as 83 percent.
Other increases recommended for full Tollway Board consideration by the Customer Service and Planning Committee include:
Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
- I-294 from the I-57 Interchange to the I-55 Interchange – recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for all traffic
- I-294 from Touhy Avenue to Deerfield Road – recommended increase from 55 to 60 for all traffic
- I-94 from Deerfield Road to Stearns School Road – recommended increase from 55 to 65 mph for cars and buses, recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for trucks
Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- I-88 from Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to Illinois Route 31 – recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for all traffic
- I-88 from Illinois Route 31 to Orchard Road – recommended increase from 55 to 65 mph for cars and buses, recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for trucks
- I-88 from Orchard Road to the Kane/DeKalb County line – recommended increase from 55 to 65 mph for buses, recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for trucks (cars remain at 65 mph)
Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
- I-355 from I-55 to Army Trail Road – recommended increase from 55 to 60 mph for all traffic
The Illinois Vehicle Code Section 603 outlines the process the Illinois Tollway is required to follow in order to raise its maximum speed limits. The Tollway must conduct an engineering and traffic investigation, which typically includes review of factors such as the prevailing speed, length of highway segment to be studied, any high-crash segments, access point density (interchanges, oases and weigh stations), the volume of traffic and traffic congestion.
If a safe and reasonable increase in the speed limit is warranted, the Tollway must obtain Illinois Department of Transportation concurrence, as well as the approval of the Tollway’s Board of Directors and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. JCAR’s rulemaking processes and procedures and the required notice periods are defined by the Administrative Procedure Act.
If JCAR approves the changes in the speed limit, the Illinois Secretary of State publishes the updated administrative rule and new speed limit signs can be posted.
To review the Tollway Traffic Engineer’s report, please visit www.illinoistollway.com.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).
SOURCE: Illinois Tollway press release