Higher speeds sought on Virginia's I-85

| 2/22/2006

A Virginia House panel has unanimously approved a bill that would raise the speed limit on an interstate in southeast Virginia. Meanwhile, a separate effort that sought to reduce speeds on certain roadways in the state has died.

The House Transportation Committee voted Tuesday, Feb. 21, to advance a measure that would increase the speed limit on Interstate 85 from Petersburg to the North Carolina line from 65 mph to 70 mph for all vehicles.

Sponsored by Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Mecklenburg, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the speed limit on the interstate from Atlanta north to the Virginia line is 70 mph, except in urban areas.

The Virginia Department of Transportation would have the final say on any changes to the speed limit.

Safety studies would need to be done to determine whether portions of the interstate in Virginia should have a lower speed limit if the overall limit is raised, the newspaper reported.

SB53, which previously passed the state’s Senate, now heads to the full House for consideration. If approved there, it would move to Gov. Tim Kaine’s desk.

While the speed boost bill moves forward, another bill that called for dropping the speed limit on various roadways throughout the state was killed in committee.

Delegate Albert Eisenberg, D-Arlington, introduced the bill – HB1164 – that would have reduced the speed limit for all vehicles on interstate highways, multilane, divided, limited access highways and high-occupancy vehicle lanes from 65 mph to 60 mph.