The 70 mph speed limit took effect on New Year’s Day, but Thursday the signs started going up. Getting all 900 new signs posted will take a couple of weeks, says IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider. “All of those signs were made in our central sign shop in Springfield, and then they were shipped out to the districts, so the districts’ sign shops will be working with our highway maintenance crews to erect those signs. We’re also praying for good weather so we can get those signs up instead of having to plow snow,” she said.
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The places where the speed limit is now 70 roughly correspond with places where it used to be 65, and that covers 87 percent of the interstates under IDOT jurisdiction, including 98 percent of the rural interstate highway mileage. The Illinois Tollway has less of its system running at 70 mph: Just 64 miles of I-88 and 15 miles of I-90. The cost of the new signs is $218,000, with no specific budget figure for installation, as the highway maintenance crews will do this as part of their regular hours.