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UPDATED: IDOT Reduces Speed Limit Through U.S. 30 Construction Zone

No date has been set for when the new 35 mph speed limit will begin.

UPDATED (11:16 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9)--No date has been set for the speed limit change, Guy Tridgell, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, wrote in an e-mail this morning.

"We still are working with the contractor to produce the signs that will be erected through the work zone. There is a significant number," Tridgell wrote. "The 35 mph speed limit essentially will be throughout the length of the project, though we are still determining if it will be in effect along the stretches where construction is not taking place." 

Drivers will need to slow down when they navigate . The speed limit along that 8.5-mile stretch that runs from Harlem Avenue in Frankfort to William Street in New Lenox will be dropping from 45 mph to 35 mph, a Frankfort official said at Monday's Village Board meeting.

No date has been set for when the reduction will occur, said Assistant Village Administrator Rob Piscia, adding that the new speed limit signs had been ordered last Thursday.

The new speed limit will mean increased fines for speeding, said Frankfort Police Chief John Burica. A first offense will cost a driver a minimum of $250, and a second offense will be a minimum of $750. Cell phone use also will not be allowed in the construction zone, Burica added.

The reduction comes after , citing safety reasons. IDOT, however, has a policy of not reducing speed limits on roadways that already have a speed limit less than 55 mph, Piscia said. Village officials were finally able to convince the transportation department that a lower speed limit would be a good thing.

Piscia's announcement of the new speed limit was part of an overall update of road construction projects throughout the village that were being managed and partially funded by IDOT.

"We know that there are lots of issues and lots of problems," said Mayor Jim Holland, adding that the update was a way of telling residents what the village was doing when it came to these projects.

Piscia highlighted three specific construction jobs:

New storm drain at Cedar Lane: As part of the U.S. 30 widening, crews put in a new 60-inch storm drain along Cedar Lane, requiring the removal of the street structure. Work hasn't been finished on it because of a problem with the drain and a village water main at Cedar and Indiana Court. That's left the pipe exposed at Indiana Court, and it's surging water, creating a holding basin out of the area.

Piscia said the village is addressing that now and will continue to work with IDOT on solutions to the water main-sewer drain problem.

"I understand that it seems frustrating that the project isn't moving forward, but part of what we're trying make sure is that this project that they get done with this project and move on is that the village isn't stuck with something that we're required to maintain," he said. "So we're trying to make sure they do it correctly to begin with."

Harlem Avenue construction: Village officials were originally told that work on Harlem Avenue--which would close down part of the roadway--would begin Aug. 15. However, without informing the village until that morning, Piscia said. 

"These projects are going at a very quick speed, and they're making very quick decisions," he said.

80th Avenue project: Initially, this project was to be started after school let out in June, but the village needed to wait on IDOT approval of the plans and contracts, Piscia said. Construction is now set to begin today, and crews will not work when students are being picked up from or dropped off at school, he added.

If residents have questions about any of the road construction projects, Piscia encouraged them to call him at the . 

Thomas C Kusunis December 27, 2011 at 08:23 PM
I am in a wheelchair and cannot cover the hood in Frankfort. I would hope a healthy person would be involved as a good cidtizen and start canvasing for signatuures for a petition to be sure only greenery be used as a noise barrier instead of those ugly man made materials. I could help with phone canvasing. E-mail me.

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