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State

IDOT changes work zone signs as speed limit climbs

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois transportation officials are adding extra safety precautions to work zones around the state after the speed limit was increased to 70 mph on some highways.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported motorists are being warned of construction projects with extra signs, including speed indicators. The placards are also being placed further away from work zones to give drivers an earlier warning.

"When you're going 70 mph, people don't realize how far you travel and how quickly," said Priscilla Tobias, the state safety engineer from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The speed limit for 87 percent of interstate highways and 98 percent of rural interstates under IDOT's jurisdiction rose to 70 mph in January, up from 65 mph. About 28 percent of the Illinois Tollway's 286-mile system also climbed to 70 mph.

IDOT opposed legislation raising the speed limit from 65 mph. But lower limits remain for work zones, where drivers need to slow to 45 mph if construction crews are present.

Tobias said takes drivers 470 feet to come to a safe stop if they're traveling 70 mph. That compares with 405 feet while driving 65 mph.

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