A nearly 40-mile stretch on Interstate 20 in Texas will soon have its speed limit reduced to 65 mph, the Texas Department of Transportation announced on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
The speed limit for the 37.7 mile stretch of the four-lane divided interstate from FM 1208 on the east side of Midland to Moss Road on the west side of Odessa is being reduced from 75 mph and will take effect Feb. 1.
Texas Department of Transportation officials pointed to crash rates higher than the state average for similar roads as the reason for the reduction.
While he was unable to provide any specific statistics, Odessa District Public Information Officer Gene Powell said portions of the 37.7 mile stretch had 1.5 to 2 times more crashes than the state average.
“We focused on this area because of the amount of traffic – because of the oil boom, the number of crashes, and how people use the road,” Powell said. “Even though it’s an interstate, a lot of people use it as a local road. They get on one exit and get off the next.”
Powell said about 45 percent of the traffic on the interstate is from commercial motor vehicles.
“This is being done solely in the interest of safety for the traveling public,” Odessa District Engineer Mike McAnally said in a news release. “We recognize that some will challenge this decision, but we feel it is the best course of action in terms of safety. We encourage motorists to follow all traffic laws and exercise patience when using this key transportation corridor.”
Powell said there will be 22 signs posting the 65 mph speed limit installed on Feb. 1.
The Texas Department of Transportation warned motorists Thursday morning on its Facebook page that “local law enforcement and DPS (Department of Public Safety) are aware of the change and are prepared to ticket speeding drivers.”
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