Tollway takes another step toward 70 mph
By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter October 24, 2013 12:54PM
Updated: October 24, 2013 2:32PM
Illinois Tollway officials Thursday moved one step closer to a 70 mph Illinois speed limit, but only on rural tollway areas far from Chicago.
In addition, the tollway board of directors approved a plan to increase the minimum speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph where the speed limit is 65 mph or will become 70 mph.
Under a proposal approved Thursday, 70 mph speed limits would begin as early as January 2014 for:
◆ A 6-mile segment of the Tri-State Tollway in Lake County near the Wisconsin border, pending a speed limit increase on Interstate 94 in Wisconsin. Trucks weighing more than 4 tons would still be limited to 55 mph.
◆ A 64-mile segment of the Reagan Memorial Tollway, starting near the western edge of Kane County and moving west to Sterling. The speed limit on 8 miles in Kane County would remain at 55 for trucks weighing more than 4 tons.
◆ A 15-mile segment of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, west of the Interstate 39 interchange in Winnebago County.
The proposal must still be approved by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The action follows a change in state law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn that increases the maximum speed allowed on state roads from 65 mph to 70 mph, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
Also Thursday, the tollway released a 2014 tentative budget packing the largest commitment to capital spending in the agency’s 58-year history, according to Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
The proposed spending plan reflects double the spending on capital projects in 2014 — to $1.4 billion — compared with the $719 million tollway officials estimate they will have actually spent in the 2013 fiscal year, budget documents indicate. Projects for 2014 include widening the Jane Addams, work on the Tri-State interchange connection to Interstate 57 and building an all-electronic Elgin-O’Hare western access.
Due largely to $1 billion in anticipated toll and evasion-recovery fees, 2014 revenues are expected to come in at $29 million more than the amount budgeted for 2013.
The budget also calls for a 4 percent increase in operating costs, to $295 million.
A public hearing on the spending plan is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at the tollway headquarters, 2700 Ogden, Downers Grove.