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Faster Cars on Texas Interstates

Traffic could be moving faster on Texas highways very soon. According to a report by Amarillo.com, the Texas Transportation Commission approved increasing speed limits from 70 mph to 75 mph on interstates 40 and 27. The changes will affect 109 miles of I-27 between Lubbock and Amarillo, as well as 166 miles of I-40 across the Texas Panhandle. In total, speed limits will be raised on 1,500 miles of interstates.

The change comes after months of studies on whether a 75 mph speed limit could be safely implemented, or if this would increase the number of car accidents in the region. Last year, four highways in the Austin area saw faster speed limits. I-35 between Georgetown and Salado, Texas Highway 130, Texas Highway 45 and U.S. Highway 281 were all raised to 75 mph. With the new speed limits, nearly 3,600 miles of highways have a 75 mph limit. Some rural areas of West Texas have 80 mph limits on state highways.

Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Division director, explained to Amarillo.com that "Texas' economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods. These new speed limits increase highway efficiency while maintaining the safety of the transportation system."

More speed limit changes are expected for rural areas of I-10 in South Texas as well as parts of I-20, I-30 and I-45.

Transportation officials anticipate that speed limit signs on I-27 and I-40 will be replaced by the end of February. In the meantime, the current 70 mph speed limit will be enforced until the new signs are posted.

The 60 mph speed limits in urban areas will not be affected.

Source: Amarillo.com "Panel Oks Speed Limit Hike" January 26, 2012; StarTelegram.com "Many Texas Highways Will Soon Get 75 mph Speed Limit" January 26, 2012

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