Lower speed limits for big rigs could be coming to the Pennsylvania Turnpike as soon as next year if officials have their way.

According to published reports, turnpike officials are concerned over safety in the mountainous areas where truck traffic is heavy on the 512-mile roadway, also known as Interstate 76.
“Over the past couple of years, I've become increasingly concerned, as have colleagues, about speeding,” turnpike commissioner Jim Dodaro told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I'd like to see the speed limit lowered to 55 mph for everyone from the Ohio line to Breezewood. At the very least, I'd like to see split speeds of 55 for trucks and 65 for cars. Safety is the bottom line."
To explore Dodaro's idea, the turnpike commission has hired HNTB Architects-Engineers-Planners of Philadelphia to conduct an $80,000 analysis of speeds, accidents, safety and signs on the stretch of roadway.
The group will study the impact on traffic of the phased reconstruction of the original 160 miles of the highway between Irwin and Carlisle.
Turnpike Executive Director John Durbin predicts that once the study is complete, lower speed limits, at least for truckers, will be coming to western Pennsylvania.
Any proposed changes in speed limits would likely go into effect in the spring of 2001, he said.