Speed limits along some Interstate routes in Maine as well as one non-Interstate route are increasing, some immediately. The move by the state transportation department follows a study of crash numbers and speeds it claims most people are already driving.
Among the routes getting the higher limits are parts of Interstates 95, 295 and 395, along with Route 1, with hikes of five mph. The highest speed limit of 70 mph will be along parts of I-95 and I-295.
Legislation signed into law last year made the increases possible.
In announcing the increases, Maine’s DOT said it used radar data from the 64 variable speed limit signs on the interstates to determine average and 85th percentile speeds. it showed that most vehicular traffic was traveling in excess of 70 mph for a majority of the day, with average speeds three to four mph lower at night.
According to the Maine DOT, "studies show that the 85th percentile speed is the safest to operate a motor vehicle, an unrealistically low speed limit creates safety and enforcement problems, and speed does not necessarily cause crashes; speed differential does."
The moves comes as the Maine Turnpike Authority is reportedly set to increase the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph for much of the route sometime this summer.
Meantime, new legislation signed into law in Minnesota, could pave the way for higher speed limits along the state’s two-lane highways that currently have a 55 mph speed limit.
State traffic engineers have been tasked with reviewing more than 6,700 miles of such roads to see if speeds along them can be “safety and reasonably” increased.
Nearly 10 years ago officials bumped the speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph along nearly 800 miles of two lane roads in Minnesota, with another 750 miles moving higher last year.
Read more about if from the Star Tribune.