Speed limits on some of state's roads will soon rise

January 23, 2019 06:39 PM

Thousands of drivers travel Minnesota's two-lane highways every year. 

For decades, the speed limit has been 55. But that's now changing in every corner of the state.

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation is changing the speed limit on more than 5,000 miles of Minnesota highways.

It marks the largest such system-wide change to the state's speed limits in around 45 years.

It comes after MnDOT studied more than 7,000 miles of the state's highways over the past five years - a project that cost more than a million dollars.

As a result, MnDOT has determined speed limits will be raised from 55 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour on 77 percent of rural, two-late state highways.

"We looked predominantly at these longer stretches of two-lane roads that could accomodate these higher speeds," MNDOT engineering specialist Nathan Drews said. 

In some areas, the new speed limit signs have already been posted. The rest should be up by spring.

MNDOT said the changes shouldn't impact safety.

"What we found in our analysis is that people are not changing their behavior," Drews said. "So even after raising the speed limit, the vehicles themslelves are not going any faster.

"So the net result in this is very little to no change in crash behavior either."

Kevin Williams drives three hours north to visit family in Crosslake every few weeks.

"It seems like everyone is in a hurry anyway, so I don't think five miles per hour will make that big of a difference as far as safety and everything else," he said. 

"I think most people are going well above that anway," fellow motorist Jessica Rosen added. "I'm ususally going 60 and people are flying by me."


 

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