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BLOOMINGTON - Two vans equipped to automatically take pictures of speeding drivers in road construction zones will not be used for issuing tickets for months - despite what roadside signs say.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Vanover said he expected the state would receive the two vans within the next several weeks, but they likely will not be on the road until February or March.

Signs along Interstates already say photo speed enforcement is in use.

The state budgeted about $400,000 for the project for the fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006. But Vanover said the program is expected to be self-sustaining "once it gets up and running."

He said the state is not buying the vehicles but operate them through a vendor for about $6,000 monthly. That will be paid for with a $15 handling charge for each ticket issued.

"We're not purchasing the vans or equipment," Vanover said. "We're purchasing a service."

One van will be used in the northern half of the state, and the other in the southern half, Vanover said.

Signs about the same size as speed limit or other construction zone signs will tell drivers photo enforcement is in use. But that does not necessarily mean a van is there at the time.

"We will put up photo enforcement signs in the work zones, but that does not necessarily mean that there will be a van in that particular zone when you drive through," Vanover said. "But we will not use the van in a zone that does not have one of these signs warning you about it."

Signs have said since August the photo enforcement vans are in use, and Vanover said those signs are part of a public information campaign to make people aware of the project ahead of implementation. He said he has not heard any complaints about the signs, and would expect more complaints if people were not aware of the program before they received a ticket.

"We wanted to be able to get the information out as a public service," Vanover said.

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