Saturday, October 1, 2011
Speed limits on some central Texas highways increase to 75 mph
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to press your gas pedals!
My fellow Texans, prepare for a lesson in driving history.
Some sections of I-35 and other state highways in Central Texas are fixin' to get new speed limit signs — and when the signs go up, it's pedal to the metal and Devil take the hindmost, folks, because those signs will indicate a legal speed limit of 75 mph.
I don't remember exactly when you could last legally drive 75 on the way to Austin, but I do remember doing it — in a '65 Chevy Corvair (Nader forbid!) — on my way to UT (Hook 'em Horns!) So it must have been sometime between 1972 and 1976, because that's when I attended.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the speed limits will officially change on four separate stretches of highway in the next few weeks:
- I-35: 22 miles from Georgetown to Salado
- SH 130: 45 miles from I-35 in Williamson County to US 183 in Travis County
- SH 45: 9 miles from US 183 to I-35 in Travis County
- US 281: 12 miles from the Lampasas-Burnet County line to 8 miles north of the Burnet city limits
While no highways in North Texas will be affected (as if you didn't already drive 75 on Central, you sly dog!), lead-footed motorists heading south toward Austin are liable to find themselves suddenly abiding by the law instead of breaking it — at least, for those 22 miles from Salado to Georgetown, and a few other nearby stretches.
TXDOT is doing "engineering studies" all around Texas to determine where speed limits can be "safely" raised in response to recently passed legislation (HB 1353), and they expect to have all the speed studies completed by early 2013.
Just for the record, here's what TXDOT means by "engineering studies":
Speed limits in Texas are set by the 85th percentile method which represents the speed the majority of drivers are traveling at or below. This recognized engineering principle has been used to set speed limits nationwide for the past 60 years.