"This is a well-designed, well-built highway that is a tremendous asset as a four-lane connector between Interstate 24 and Interstate 65 across southwestern Kentucky," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "Companies and travelers increasingly rely on Global Positioning System technology to plan travel routes, and those systems favor routes with higher speed limits. So, for its economic development value, it's important for U.S. 68 to stand out from other routes that have a speed limit of 55."
Beshear said it was equally important to ensure that a higher speed limit did not create a safety hazard. The decision to raise the speed limit was made only after speed studies and analysis of traffic data was studied by engineers of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
"This highway has wide shoulders, a wide median, partially-controlled access and comparatively few traffic signals. It can easily accommodate a higher speed limit because of its excellent design and construction," he said.
The speed limit will be raised to 65 mph from 55 mph on 58.75 miles of U.S. 68/KY 80. From west to east, the new speed zone will stretch from a point just east of U.S. 68 Business in Cadiz, through Christian, Todd and Logan counties to an existing 45 mph zone to the west of Bowling Green.
The speed limit will not be raised on a short, undivided, five-lane section near the I-24 interchange at Cadiz or on sections of the highway that pass through Hopkinsville and Russellville.
Officials said it might eventually be possible, after new, four-lane bridges have been constructed over Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, to have a higher speed limit on the four-lane corridor all the way to Mayfield via KY 80.