75 mph will be the new 70
By The Associated Press
AUSTIN — Transportation officials on Thursday signed off on a faster speed limit of 75 mph for about 1,500 miles of Texas highways.
The Texas Transportation Commission approved the change for segments of nine interstates where the current limit is 70 mph. Drivers must wait until the new limit is posted.
The longest stretch is 310 miles of Interstate 20 from near Fort Worth to a remote area of West Texas, where 80 mph zones have existed for several years.
Other long stretches include 139 miles of I-30 in East Texas; 145 miles of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston; and 143 miles of I-45 between Dallas and Houston.
Nighttime speeds also will be 75 mph on the approved interstates.
Last year, the Legislature approved the faster speed on all rural roads deemed safe. Previously it was only allowed in sparsely populated counties. With the commission’s action Thursday, the bill’s passage has led to 1,618 miles of 75 mph driving. Before the law went into effect the state had 1,445 miles of 75 mph speed limits and 521 miles of 80 mph — most of them in sparsely populated West Texas.
One transportation official said in a release that the faster limits help the economy.
“Texas’ economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods,” traffic operations division director Carol Rawson said.
The faster limit will also include I-37 between Corpus Christi and San Antonio and in the Panhandle on I-40 on either side of Amarillo from the New Mexico border to Oklahoma as well as I-27 between Lubbock and Amarillo. In addition to miles along I-30 in East Texas, I-20 drivers from just east of Dallas to the Louisiana border also can go 75 mph.
The commission late last year approved a smattering of other miles — about 101 — along interstates and highways.