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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Utah May Raise Speed Limit To 80 MPH On More Freeway Stretches

Travelers may be able to reach Utah destinations more quickly under legislation being recommended by the State Legislature's Transportation Interim Committee. Tests of an 80 mph speed limit on sections of I-15 have not revealed any major problems and so the committee has voted to support expanding the program into other areas.

This Deseret News article has details. Below are excerpts.

"But many people, most people actually, are already traveling 80," (Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville) said. "So we're simply making legal what the majority of people do."

He ruled out ever calling for a statewide speed limit of 80 mph, citing the need for slower speed limits along freeway stretches that are mountainous or curvy, as well as those that have a history of accidents.

UDOT deputy director Carlos Braceras cited the results of three years of data collection that found driver speed climbed from an average of 83 mph to 85 mph without any speed-related fatalities.

The department's data also shows that the number of nonfatal crashes has dropped along the two sections of I-15 where a permanent speed limit of 80 mph is recommended.

The Utah Department of Transportation may make the 80 mph speed limit permanent on sections of I-15 between Mills Junction and Scipio, and between Fillmore and Cove Fort. The department will continue to study the impact of the higher limit on two other sections of freeway.

The article says a bill is being drafted for the next legislature to test the 80 mph limit on portions of I-15 to Wendover, on additional sections of I-15 and on portions of I-84 and I-80.

The reference concerning I-15 and Wendover is obviously a typo. I-80 crosses the Salt Flats to Wendover but I-15 does not.

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