Portions of Texas interstate highways to see speed limit increase
AUSTIN—Miles and miles of Texas highway will soon see speed limit increases following Thursday’s Texas Transportation Commission action approving 75 mph designations for close to 1,500 miles of interstate.The speed limit changes span 60 Texas counties making it the largest conversion since a new law was passed last year. The 82nd Texas Legislature passed and the Governor signed House Bill 1353 which allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to establish 75 mph speed limits on Texas highways providing speed studies show it can be done safely.Since September, the agency has been reviewing existing 70 mph speed limits across the state to determine where a 75 mph limit may be safely posted. Four Central Texas highways were the first to see higher speeds after the new law took effect. Thursday’s Commission action brings the number of miles now zoned at 75 mph as a result of House Bill (HB) 1353 to 1,618.Posting new speed limits on 1,500 miles of interstate highway is a major milestone in implementing the new law, said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Division director.“Texas’ economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods,” Rawson explained. “These new speed limits increase highway efficiency while maintaining the safety of the transportation system." TxDOT recommended to the Commission that speed limits be raised on segments of I-10, I-20, I-27, I-30, I-35, I-37, I-40, I-44 and I-45 after engineering studies showed that higher speeds could be posted safely. Motorists must continue to travel at the posted speed until new signs are installed, said Rawson. “The new speed limit is not official until the signs go up,” she added.TxDOT studies of speeds on U.S. highways, state highways, farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads are still under way.Prior to HB 1353, Texas had 1,445 miles of 75 mph speed limits and 521 miles of 80 mph speed limits on certain state highways. These speed limits were previously restricted to specific rural counties and highways located mostly in West Texas. Texas now has almost 3,600 miles zoned at 75 mph or higher.New 75 mph speed limits approved Thursday are located on:• I-10—289 miles across El Paso, Gillespie, Kerr, Kendall, Bexar, Guadalupe, Caldwell, Gonzales, Fayette, Colorado, Austin, Jefferson and Orange counties• I-20—423 miles across Crane, Ector, Midland, Martin, Howard, Mitchell, Nolan, Taylor, Callahan, Eastland, Erath, Palo Pinto, Van Zandt, Smith, Gregg and Harrison counties• I-27—109 miles across Lubbock, Hale, Swisher and Randall counties• I-30—139 miles across Hunt, Hopkins, Franklin, Titus, Morris and Bowie counties• I-35—106 miles across Webb, Medina, Atascosa, Bexar, Hill and Cooke counties• I-37—130 miles across Nueces, San Patricio, Live Oak, Atascosa and Bexar counties• I-40—166 miles across Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Donley and Wheeler counties• I-44—11 miles across Wichita County• I-45—143 miles across Walker, Madison, Leon, Freestone and Navarro countiesGo to http://www.txdot.gov/safety/speed_limit/75mph.htm for more information on the locations of the new speed limits.The Texas Department of TransportationThe Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its approximately 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and preserving the value of the state's transportation assets. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Fan us on Facebook www.facebook.com/txdot. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/txdot.