Speed limit reduced in Maryville for safety reasons

MARYVILLE - State highway workers who planted 45 mph speed limit signs last month on newly widened Illinois 159 in Maryville recently changed the signs to 35 mph after city officials raised concerns.

"It's a safety issue," said Police Chief Rich Schardan.

Illinois 159 is Maryville's connector highway south to Belleville and north to Edwardsville.

Between Jan. 1, 2003, and Aug. 10, a little more than half the 416 traffic accidents in the village occurred on Illinois 159, Schardan said.

When Illinois Department of Transportation workers posted the 45 mph signs in August, they left drivers with two different speed limits on the one-mile stretch of highway between Illinois 162, near the Maryville Post Office, and Fairlane Drive.

The mistake prompted some residents to sign a petition that asked the Village Board to raise the speed limit to 45 mph.

The village instead asked IDOT to replace the 45 mph signs with 35 mph signs.

Schardan said he is against a higher speed limit on the village's main drag because several streets feed into the highway, all but two of them without traffic lights.

Edwardsville's wider 159 resulted in a 45 mph speed limit, but the city has eight traffic lights on its section of the highway, Schardan said.

Access to Firemen's Park on Illinois 159 was another reason for keeping the speed limit lower. The park is home to baseball fields and other recreation.

"People are constantly making left turns ... to get into these ball fields," he said.

Contact Jayne Matthews at jmatthews@bnd.com or 345-7822 ext. 25.