Gov. Pete Ricketts signed into law a bill earlier this year to increase vehicle speeds from 65 mph to 70 mph on four-lane expressways, and expressways. Two-lane state highways are also eligible to increase from 60 mph to 65 mph.
Previously LB1009, the new law mandated that before any speed changes could take effect the Nebraska Department of Transportation must study the issue.
After months of review by the highway agency, new signs began going up along affected stretches of highway in mid- to late-July.
In the Omaha area, stretches of Interstates 80, 480 and 680 have been increased from 60 mph to 65 mph. Also, West Dodge Road from 168th Street to Fremont is up from 65 mph to 70 mph.
In Lincoln, the speed limit along I-180 is now 65 mph – up from 60 mph. U.S. 77 from Lincoln to Wahoo and Beatrice is now 70 mph – up from 65 mph. The same change is applied to state Highway 2.
Advocates, including the governor, said the changes are good for business and tourism.
“This approach to speed limits addresses the many concerns we’ve heard about inconsistencies with the current system,” Ricketts said.
Sen. John Murante, R-Gretna, added that the increased speeds would bring into line the state with the 85th percentile speed – the speed at or below which 85 percent of vehicles travel in free-flowing traffic.
The new speeds can be modified by local road districts, if necessary. Affected stretches of road would not include road work areas and portions of highway with frequent hills and curves.
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