Portions of two Central Texas highways will soon see speed limit increases following Thursday’s Texas Transportation Commission action approving 80 mph designations for 54 miles of roadway in the Austin area.
Higher speed limits were approved on segments of SH 130 from Georgetown to Mustang Ridge and SH 45SE from Mustang Ridge to I-35 in south Travis County.
The 82nd Texas Legislature passed and the Governor signed House Bill 1201 which allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to establish speeds of up to 85 mph on certain Texas highways that were originally designed to accommodate such speeds. TxDOT recommended to the Commission that speed limits be raised on the two roadways after engineering studies showed that higher speeds could be posted safely.
“These higher speed limits on SH 130 and SH 45 Southeast provide travelers a safe and efficient alternative to the congestion on I-35 in Austin,” said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations director. “Though the distance is longer, the actual travel time is comparable and more reliable.”
Motorists must continue to travel at the posted speed until new signs are installed and the new speed limit is not official until the signs go up, Rawson added.
TxDOT is continuing speed studies on U.S. highways, state highways, farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads currently posted at 70 mph. Legislators passed HB 1353 last year that allows the department to establish 75 mph speed limits on Texas highways providing speed studies show it can be done safely.
Prior to last year’s legislation, 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 more than 3,000 miles zoned at 75 mph or higher, and 575 miles posted at 80 mph.
Go to http://www.txdot.gov/safety/speed_limit/75mph.htm for more information on the locations of the new speed limits.