Speed boost headed to Virginia's I-85

| Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gov. Tim Kaine has signed a bill into law to raise the speed limit on an interstate in southeast Virginia, but the state’s DOT will have the final say on the matter.

Sponsored by Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Mecklenburg, the measure calls for increasing the speed limit on Interstate 85 from Petersburg to the North Carolina line from 65 mph to 70 mph for all vehicles. The new speed limit is expected to take effect July 1.

The bill – SB53 – won approval 36-3 in the Senate. House lawmakers endorsed it 80-20.

Lawmakers in the House refused to authorize a change offered by Delegate Bob Hull, D-Falls Church. Hull tried to add a provision to the bill while it was debated on the House floor that would’ve kept large trucks at the current 65 mph limit.

Ruff told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the change makes sense for all vehicles because 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 will have the final say on any changes to the speed limit. Safety studies must be done to determine whether portions of the interstate in Virginia should maintain a 65 mph speed limit, the newspaper reported.

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