SPRINGFIELD | Barring a significant winter weather event, motorists on rural Illinois interstates should be able to legally drive at 70 miles per hour by no later than mid-January.
As part of the new law bringing Illinois in line with 37 other states allowing speeds of 70 mph on all or some of their interstates, the Illinois Department of Transportation says it hopes to have new speed limit signs erected by Jan. 17.
IDOT spokeswoman Jae Miller said the estimated 900 signs are complete and ready to go once the law goes into effect on Jan. 1.
“The signs will be installed by IDOT district forces between January 2 and January 17,” Miller said in an email.
Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on the higher speed limits in the spring legislative session. Supporters argue it will erase differences with other states and help businesses that are dependent on timely deliveries.
To appease concerns about high speeds in urban areas, the new law exempts Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, Madison and St. Clair counties. Local officials there have the option of considering whether to increase the limits.
Until the signs are erected, motorists are urged to abide by whatever speed limit is posted at the time. In other words, if the signs still stay 65 mph, don’t exceed that limit until the signs are changed, officials say.