The speed limit returned to 75 mph last week on a 52-mile section of Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Laramie, where a seasonal limit of 65 mph had been in effect since Oct. 15. As of April 15, that section of highway got the all clear for traffic to travel at normal speeds.
The seasonal limit was imposed because the highway section is prone to unpredictable and extreme weather that changes quickly. The goal of the lower limit was to reduce crashes and highway closures by giving drivers more time to react to rapidly changing conditions.
WYDOT implemented the seasonal limit for the first time in 2008, and is compiling crash and closure data to assess the effectiveness of the reduced limit and variable speed limit signs installed on the highway section.
The University of Wyoming is conducting a 30-month study of the section to help determine the effectiveness of the variable speed limit system. The study includes analysis of weather sensor data and other factors that can be used to develop a system for setting the appropriate speed for conditions.
Data gathered will help decide whether to continue implementing the seasonal speed limit in the future and whether to install variable speed limit signs on other highway sections in the state.