One less menace on the tollway. (HT IllinoisTollway.com)
Tollway drivers wallets are a little fatter right now. From ChicagoTribune.com:
"Drivers who have sped through Illinois Tollway construction zones this year need not worry about receiving $375 tickets in the mail courtesy of the Illinois State Police's photo speed enforcement vans, although the vans are still patrolling Chicago-area expressways.
A decline in roadwork on the 286-mile tollway system prompted officials to discontinue using the van on the tollway at the end of last year.
"We sent our van down to Springfield for use in central and southern Illinois," said Sgt. Jim Jenkner, the state police safety education officer in District 15, which covers the tollway system.
A speeding ticket and photos of the vehicle's front license plate and the driver's face are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. A first offense carries a $375 fine. The penalty upon conviction increases to $1,000 for a second violation plus the suspension of the driver's license for up to 90 days.
Under the state law that provided for use of the speed enforcement vans, the vehicles may operate only when workers are present in a construction zone, even though the 45 mph work zone speed limit remains in place around the clock during the duration of a project.
Authorities are not attributing the declining ticketing rate to less speeding going on, but rather to the winding down of major construction projects on the tollway. Seventy-one miles of toll roads were under construction last year, compared with only 36 miles this year, according to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. This year's work is focused on the Edens Spur and on Interstate Highway 355.
"Construction was pretty much everywhere last year,'' Jenkner said. "If we start getting some major construction again, the vans could be utilized on the tollway again."
So there you have it: Less construction means less work zones, which means less ticket revenue. Good news for Chicagoland drivers, bad news for drivers downstate.
ChicagoTribune.com: Speed-enforcement vans detoured off Illinois Tollway