AUSTIN - More than 1,500 miles of Texas interstates will experience increased speed limits to 75 mph following action Thursday by the state’s Transportation Commission.
The speed limit changes span 60 Texas counties, including a handful in our listening region, making it the largest conversion since a new law was passed last year.
The 82nd Texas Legislature passed and the Governor signed House Bill 1353 which allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to establish 75 mph speed limits on Texas highways providing speed studies show it can be done safely.
“It’s going to take around 30-60 days for us to get those [speed limit signs] changed out but it looks like I-30 across Hunt, Hopkins and Franklin County – that’s in the Paris District – will be affected,” said TxDot’s Tray Turner.
The increased speeds along I-30 will stretch a total of 139 miles and also include Titus, Morris and Bowie counties.
Since September, the agency has been reviewing existing 70 mph speed limits across the state to determine where a 75 mph limit may be safely posted.
Posting new speed limits on 1,500 miles of interstate highway is a major milestone in implementing the new law, said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Division director.
"Texas' economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods," Rawson explained. "These new speed limits increase highway efficiency while maintaining the safety of the transportation system."
TxDOT recommended to the Commission that speed limits be raised on segments of I-10, I-20, I-27, I-30, I-35, I-37, I-40, I-44 and I-45 after engineering studies showed that higher speeds could be posted safely.
Motorists must continue to travel at the posted speed until new signs are installed, said Rawson.
"The new speed limit is not official until the signs go up," she added.
TxDOT studies of speeds on U.S. highways, state highways, farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads are still under way.
Prior to HB 1353, Texas had 1,445 miles of 75 mph speed limits and 521 miles of 80 mph speed limits on certain state highways. These speed limits were previously restricted to specific rural counties and highways located mostly in West Texas. Texas now has almost 3,600 miles zoned at 75 mph or higher.
Click here for more information on the locations of the new speed limits.