Central Texas highways first to get OK for 75 mph

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/30/2011

About one month after the state authorized uniform speeds for truckers and other drivers traveling through the Lone Star State, night and day, the first stretches of road to be posted at 75 mph have been identified.

The Texas Transportation Commission voted Thursday, Sept. 29, to authorize 75 mph speeds on four Central Texas highways.

On Sept. 1, a Texas speed law took effect to eliminate the distinction between daytime and nighttime speeds, as well as slower speeds for trucks. All vehicles now are allowed to travel the same speed regardless of the time of day.

Also included in the new law was a provision authorizing speed limits on most rural highways to be increased from 70 mph to 75 mph – as long as state studies deem it safe.

The first roadway to get the all clear from state engineers for higher speeds are sections of Interstate 35, state highways 45 and 130, and U.S. 281 in Bell, Williamson, Travis and Burnet counties.

New signage to reflect the 75 mph speed is expected to be posted within the next two weeks.

Jim Cotton, spokesperson for TxDOT’s traffic division, recently told Land Line it could take 12 to 15 months to identify segments of road that will accommodate the 5 mph increase. He also noted that higher volume roadways are being given priority.

Texas already has 1,445 miles of 75 mph speeds posted and 521 miles of 80 mph speeds on certain state highways. Until now, the higher speeds were in specific rural counties, most of which are in West Texas.

The 75 mph speed limits approved Thursday for Central Texas account for 88 miles of roadway on the following sections:

  • I-35, which includes 22 miles from Georgetown to Salado;
  • SH 130, which includes 45 miles from I-35 in Williamson County to U.S. 183 in Travis County;
  • SH 145, which includes nine miles from U.S. 183 to I-35 in Travis County; and
  • U.S. 281, which includes 12 miles from the Lampasas-Burnet County line to eight miles north of the Burnet city limits.

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