Oregon moves quickly to study which roads should have higher speeds

| 10/2/2003

Oregon officials are already studying which interstates in the state can accommodate higher speed limits just days after Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a bill that allows the limits to be raised, The Associated Press reported Oct. 1.

The speed limit measure, HB2661, takes effect Jan. 1. It allows the Oregon Transportation Department to raise the speed limit on certain sections of rural interstates to 65 mph for trucks and 70 mph for cars. Those limits are currently 55 and 65, respectively.

The bill’s passage doesn’t guarantee higher speeds.

“It should be made clear to the public that the legislation itself requires that speeds can be raised only if engineering and traffic investigation indicates that a speed increase is reasonable and safe,” Kulongoski wrote in a letter to Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Stuart Foster after signing the bill Sept. 26. “In other words, HB2661 mandates that speeds be increased only if objective evidence exists that an increase is reasonable and safe.”

More than 730 miles of Oregon interstates are being examined for possible higher speeds, The AP said.