Idaho delays start date of faster speeds, continued differential

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, June 30, 2014

A planned speed limit increase on some stretches of Idaho interstates has been delayed.

Idaho law authorizes motorists to travel 75 mph on rural interstates. In 1998, large truck speeds were dropped from 75 mph to 65 mph. Speeds are 65 mph for all vehicles on state highways.

As of Tuesday, July 1, speeds were set to increase to 80 mph for cars and 70 mph for trucks on most of Interstates 15, 84 and 86. However, the Idaho Transportation Department announced on Friday, June 27, that the implementation mostly in southern Idaho has been delayed to review input expressed about the change.

The agency has completed the review of speed studies, crash analysis and engineering review that was required in a bill signed into law in March by Gov. Butch Otter. Findings will be presented to the Idaho Transportation Board in Coeur d’Alene on July 11.

“This will allow a thoughtful and inclusive review, ensuring safety,” stated ITD chief operations officer Jim Carpenter.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed to speed differentials. Association officials say the only speed limit policy that makes sense is to have all vehicles traveling at or near the same speed to minimize interaction between vehicles.

The speed limit in the urban areas of the Treasure Valley, between Caldwell and east Boise, as well as through Pocatello and Idaho Falls, will remain at 65 mph for all vehicles.

The department continues to study I-90 in northern Idaho for potential increases.

The law also allows the ITD to boost speeds on state highways for all vehicles to 70 mph. Changes on affected roadways will happen at later dates as speed studies are completed.

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