More and more of Minnesota’s two-lane highway segments are seeing slight speed limit increases.
A 5-year-old legislative mandate has resulted in 16 more two-lane highway segments with higher speed limits posted.
Increases from 55 mph to 60 mph now are in place on highways in southwest and southeast Minnesota. Already this year, speed limits of 60 mph have been posted on seven northwest Minnesota highways, two northeast Minnesota highways, and nine southern Minnesota highways.
The changes follow a 2014 mandate by the Minnesota Legislature for the state Department of Transportation to study posted speed limits on all two-lane state highways. The agency is also charged with making recommendations for possible 5 mph speed limit increases.
MnDOT reports the state has about 7,000 miles of two-lane roads that will be studied from 2014 to 2019. The agency is responsible for studying about one-fifth of all affected roadways each year until the study is complete.
“A properly selected speed limit can increase the safety of the roadway by reducing the variation in actual vehicle operating speeds, and by setting realistic driver expectations for motorists trying to cross or enter a roadway,” MnDOT traffic engineer Chad Hanson said in a released statement.
The sections of southwest Minnesota highway to have increased speed limits in the latest round of increases are:
- Highway 4 from Hector to Highway 55.
- Highway 9 from County State Aid Highway 33 to Highway 104.
- U.S. 14 from the South Dakota border to Highway 71.
- Highway 15 from Winthrop to the north Meeker County line.
- Highway 19 from the South Dakota border to Fairfax.
- Highway 30 from the South Dakota border to Slayton and from U.S. 59 to Westbrook.
- Highway 40 from Highway 119 to Willmar.
- U.S. 59 from Marshall to Clarkfield.
- Highway 119 from U.S. 212 to Highway 40.
- Highway 267 from Iona to Highway 30.
- Highway 271 from Highway 19 to the South Dakota border.
Affected highways in southeast Minnesota include:
- Highway 247 from Highway 63 to Plainview.
- Highway 13 north of Interstate 90.
- Highway 30 from New Richland to Chatfield.
- Highway 56 from north of Stanton to the Iowa border.
- Highway 60 west of I-35 to Zumbro Falls.
The latest round of increases were approved following a traffic and engineering investigation of each highway. The review took into account crash history, physical attributes of the highway such as shoulder widths and access points, and what speed drivers now drive.
Changes in the vehicle speed are effective when new signs are posted.
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