Virginia completes changes to 70 mph speed limits

| 12/3/2010

The Virginia Department of Transportation has wrapped up the installation of 70 mph speed limit signs on various rural sections of interstate.

The initiative results in nearly two-thirds of Virginia’s interstates having speed limits set at 70 mph – up from 65 mph.

The last segments – Interstate 95 from Ashland to Spotsylvania, the southern piece of I-81 from Christiansburg to the Tennessee line, and all sections of I-77 – were completed in mid November.

“The higher speed limits will affect travelers in shortening commute times and will more efficiently move goods and services throughout Virginia,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

McDonnell signed a bill into law this spring to authorize the speed increases after a traffic engineering study.

The first sign changes were made July 1 on I-295 from the Lafrance Road underpass, just south of I-64 to the I-295/I95 Interchange.

The pursuit of higher speeds was led by McDonnell. He pledged during his run for governor a year ago to pursue faster travel on rural stretches of highway statewide. During his State of the Commonwealth Address early this year, he reiterated his desire to see 70 mph speeds implemented on stretches of I-95, I-64, I-77 and I-81.

McDonnell has said that the modest increase in the speed limit not only will be safe for travelers to arrive at their destinations in a timelier manner, but will also benefit transportation.

“This is an important early step towards our common goal of improving transportation in the Commonwealth,” McDonnell said in a statement.

Improvements to signage, rumble strips and guardrails are also being made to improve safety.