December 12, 2018

MDOT to begin increasing speed limits across state

Work to be completed by mid-November


MICHIGAN — Fans of Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” may seek solace in the new state law that will begin taking effect mid-May, increasing the speed limits on some state highways and freeways.

According to a Michigan Department of Transportation press release, the Michigan State Police and MDOT worked to identify 900 miles of non-freeway state highways where speed limits could be increased to 65 mph, and 600 miles of freeway where drivers could travel 75 mph.

The press release reads that Public Act 445, passed in late 2016, tasked the agencies with increasing speed limits on some state highways and freeways based on “85th-percentile speeds” — speeds at or below which 85 percent of traffic is moving. Engineering and safety study results were also to be considered when selecting the trunk lines identified for the increases. The law requires the modified speed limits be in place prior to Jan. 5, 2018.

“The corridors identified by MDOT and MSP were selected not only because studies indicated most drivers were already driving at those increased speeds, but also because their design and safety features were best suited to these speed limits,” state Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle said in the press release. “We reviewed design speeds, crash patterns, number of access points, traffic volumes and continuity of these corridors and chose them to minimize necessary improvements for higher speed limits.”

MDOT will begin posting the new speed limits on three freeways — I-75 from Bay City to Sault Ste. Marie, US-127 from I-69 to I-75 and US-131 from M-57 to Manton — beginning May 1.

The new speed limits will be posted on these routes by mid-May. MDOT will also begin installation of sign overlays stating trucks and buses may also travel at the new rate of speed on roadways with speed limits of 65 mph or greater, another changed prompted by PA 455.

“The engineering and safety studies conducted utilized the 85th-percentile speed, which is a national scientifically proven method to determine and establish safe speed limits,” said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “Troopers and motor carrier officers do, and will continue to, aggressively enforce all posted speed limits to ensure compliance by the motoring public.”

In other parts of the state three limited-access freeways or portions of them were selected for increased speed limits: I-69, US-10 and US-31.

Sixteen non-freeways were identified for increased speed limits, including one each in Oscoda and Arenac counties.

In Arenac County, M-65 will be increased from US-23 to M-32 in Alpena County, and in Oscoda County, M-72 will see increases on three sections including Grayling to Mio, Fairview to M-65 and M-65 to Harrisville.

The agencies are finalizing the administrative processes and signing traffic control orders to implement the changes on the remaining freeway and non-freeway corridors, the release states. The new speed limits will be posted on all the selected routes prior to mid-November.


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