MnDOT studies speed limits on two-lane roads
Agency is in third year of five-year study
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation is entering its third year of evaluating the 55 miles per hour speed limit on all two-lane highways in the state. The five-year study is a legislative mandate to look at the speed limits and make recommendations about increasing the speed to 60 mph.
Of the roads studied in 2014 and 2015, 1,190 miles were raised to 60 miles per hour and 305 miles remained at 55, according to MnDOT’s speeds limit report to the Legislature released Jan. 15, 2016.
In 2016, MnDOT will evaluate speed limits on 1,068 miles of roads.
“A properly selected speed limit can increase the safety of the roadway by creating uniform travel speeds for all vehicles, and by setting realistic driver expectations of those trying to cross or enter the roadway,” said Julie Whitcher, assistant state traffic safety engineer.
Minnesota has about 7,000 miles of two-lane, two-way roads. About 5,000 of these miles cross the borders of different MnDOT districts and require coordination between the districts. The remaining 2,000 miles that don’t cross district boundaries were not assigned for study. They will be studied but the schedule is left to the discretion of the districts.
Not all roads studied will be approved for an increase. The increases are based on a traffic and engineering investigation of each location, which includes looking at past crash rates, physical attributes of the highway such as shoulder widths and access points, and what speed drivers are currently driving.
The legislative report, which includes the 2014 and 2015 study results as well as a timeline of all the roads to be studied, is posted a http://www.dot.state.mn.us/govrel/reports.html.
To learn more about funding Minnesota’s transportation system visit Get Connected at www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected