Utah soon to get 80 mph speeds

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/4/2013

A new law in Utah authorizes 80 mph speeds on more stretches of roadways as soon as this spring.

State law now authorizes 75 mph speeds on interstates and other limited access roadways in rural areas. However, since 2009 a stretch of Interstate 15 between Nephi and Cedar City has been posted at 80 mph.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill to expand the portion of I-15 where speeds can reach 80 mph. HB83 also includes stretches of Interstates 80 and 84.

Specifically, truckers and other drivers could soon be authorized for faster travel from Brigham City to the Idaho border, on I-84 from Tremonton to the Idaho line and along I-80 from Grantsville to the Nevada border.

The Utah Department of Transportation can post the new speed limits on affected stretches as early as May 14. Engineering and safety studies must be completed before any changes are made.

Addressing concerns about higher speeds, supporters said that cars and trucks would continue to drive at or near the same speed they travel now.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said that 85 percent of drivers on the affected stretch of I-15 drive 83 mph – up from 82 mph before the change.

He told lawmakers during recent discussion that “the speed would be set at the speed limit that people want to drive. It is the natural flow.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Utah, click here.

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