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Madison, St. Clair Counties Could Opt Out of Higher Speed Limit

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – When the speed limit goes to 70 miles per on many interstates in Illinois January 1, it won’t necessarily change in Madison and St. Clair counties.

The law states that counties in more urban areas have the choice to opt out altogether, or pick and choose which highways to let vehicles go faster.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern told KMOX he met with county highway engineers and District 8 IDOT officials on this issue.

“They’re the engineers, they’re the ones that build these roads,” Kern said. “They know, not only the speed capacity of the roads, but how many accidents have occurred.”

He didn’t say what his decision would be come January, but the main focus will be to protect motorists and the 275,000 residents of St. Clair County.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn went against his own transportation chief as well as the state’s police department when he signed the bill last week.

Illinois State Police had said higher limits increase chances for accidents.

But bill sponsor state Rep. Jerry Costello (D) couldn’t see the danger in the 5mph increase asking last week, “What’s the most dangerous is the disparity in speed.”

He and fellow bill sponsor state Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Republican, said the increase would create a more even traffic flow.

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