Tollway stretch plunges to 45

By Tyler Vincent

The commute home this weekend may be a little longer for some students after state officials lowered the speed limit on Interstate 88 to 45 mph between I-251 near Rochelle and Route 56 outside North Aurora.

The speed limit normally is 65 mph.

Pavement conditions on the stretch of highway have deteriorated over the past few weeks in part because of unexpected snowfall and freezing conditions in December, followed by thawing in January.

According to an Illinois Highway Authority press release, job contractors will be named by the end of the week to begin repairs sometime next week.

Authority member Joelle McGinnis said the speed limit was lowered to allow crews to work safely.

“It was in response to our need to get all the potholes on that stretch of road covered,” she said. “It’s for emergency purposes.”

The tollway and highway authority has heard from many motorists complaining of damage to their cars.

“We’ve received calls of tire rims coming off and rubble from the road flying up and cracking windshields,” McGinnis said.

Potholes are common for roadways during the winter. In order to eliminate the threat they pose, highway crews normally apply a cold patch solution to the pot hole and let passing traffic press it into place.

“The road is just deteriorating faster than we anticipated,” McGinnis said.

To combat future problems, the authority will use asphalt to completely repave parts of the road. This means some lanes will be closed during the repair period.

McGinnis promised the speed limit would not be permanent, although she could not give a specific date when the roadwork would be completed.

“We’ll be starting on this as soon as possible,” she said.