Decision delayed on speed boost for some South Dakota highways

| 8/9/2005

The South Dakota Transportation Commission is continuing discussion on whether to raise the speed limit to 70 mph on some rural four-lane highways in the state.

At a recent meeting in Pierre, SD, commissioners decided to postpone the vote so they can collect more information on how South Dakota compares with neighboring states on speed limits and highway safety statistics, The Associated Press reported. They are expected to take up the issue again at an Aug. 25 meeting.

A Federal Highway Administration official urged the state commission to be cautious in raising speed limits on rural four-lane roads. The official, John Rohlf, told commissioners higher speeds combined with slow-moving farm equipment would cause safety problems on the rural divided highways.

South Dakota legislators approved a bill this year allowing the commission to decide if it’s safe to permit drivers to travel faster than 65 mph on four-lane state highways that are not part of the federal interstate system.

The speed limit on Interstates 90 and 29 in the state is 75 mph, but reduced to 65 mph through cities and towns.

The commission is considering raising the speed limit on U.S. Highway 83 between Pierre and I-90, U.S. 12 between Aberdeen and I-29, U.S. 37 between Mitchell and Huron, U.S. 50 between Yankton and Vermillion, and U.S. 79 between Rapid City and the Nebraska border.

In return for higher limits, anyone exceeding 70 mph on the affected stretches would be subject to a $200 fine and/or 30 days in jail.