Archive for Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Portions of KTA, other Kansas highways to have new 75 mph speed limit

June 21, 2011

Drivers traveling on rural stretches of Kansas interstate highways, as well as segments of two U.S. routes, will be able to legally push their top speed to 75 miles per hour beginning July 1.

Roads highlighted in green will carry new 75 mph speed limits beginning July 1.

Roads highlighted in green will carry new 75 mph speed limits beginning July 1.

The Kansas Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced the 75-mph routes:

• Interstate 70 from the Colorado state line to just west of Topeka in Shawnee County.

• Interstate 135 from a half-mile north of the 85th Street interchange in Harvey County to I-70 near Salina.

• Interstate 35 from U.S. Highway 50 just east of Emporia to a mile east of the Sunflower/Edgerton interchange in Johnson County.

• U.S. Highway 81 from I-70 near Salina north to Kansas Highway 106.

• U.S. Highway 69 from just six-tenths of a mile north of the north junction of U.S. Highway 54 in Bourbon County to the 199th Street Interchange in Johnson County.

• The Kansas Turnpike from the Oklahoma state line to Kansas Highway 7 in Wyandotte County.

The new maximum speed limit was passed by the 2011 Legislature, authorizing the secretary of transportation to consider any separated, multilane highway for the new speed limit. All of the routes chosen for the increased speed limit are freeways, which have controlled access and interchanges. No expressways, which have at-grade intersections with cross traffic, were selected.

A total of 807 miles of roadway will have the 75-mph speed limit.

"These routes were selected by a task force made up of KDOT representatives and the Kansas Highway Patrol. The Kansas Turnpike Authority has also approved the speed limit changes," said Chris Herrick, director of KDOT’s Division of Planning and Development and a member of the task force.

“We considered a number of factors, such as traffic volumes, crash history and roadway geometrics, to determine where to raise the limit. We will continue to monitor these routes under the new speed limit and consider whether it makes sense to increase the maximum speed on other highways.”

Among the other factors considered were whether the road was in a rural or urban area, the amount of commuter traffic it carries and the speed limit in surrounding states.

KDOT will begin the process of affixing aluminum overlays with the new 75-mph speed limit to the existing 70-mph signs on Thursday, June 30. However, it will not be legal to travel at 75 mph until the new law takes effect on July 1. Starting the process a day before the law takes effect will allow KDOT crews to have most, if not all, of the signs updated before the start of the holiday travel weekend.

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