Wyoming highways could have 80 mph speed limit - KOTA Territory News

Wyoming highways could have 80 mph speed limit

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An 80 mile per hour speed limit could become reality on some highways in the Cowboy State. It's not the first time the conversation has come up.

A recently filed House bill would allow interstate highways to go from 75 to 80 mph. The bill is sponsored by the Interim Transportation Committee chairs, the House Speaker, and the Senate President.

But since this is a budget session the speed limit increase will need a lot of votes.

"It will require a two-thirds submission to be introduced," said Rep. John Patton, R-Sheridan.

Patton thinks the added authority the bill gives the state superintendent could help it pass. If it does, Wyoming Department of Transportation workers will determine which highways are suitable for the higher speed limit.

"We would of course look at geometrics of the highway, look at safety of the highway, look at accident histories," said district traffic engineer James Evensen.

Interstate 90, which goes through Sheridan, Gillette, and Sundance, would look primed for the change.

"The geometrics are there. It's our best designed highway. It will handle 80 miles an hour," said Evensen.

WYDOT believes Wyoming drivers, for the most part, would welcome the change.

"People want to be able to travel faster between destinations. However in the communities themselves, in the cities, we get more complaints about people going too fast," said Evensen.

"Most people, passenger cars anyway, are driving 78 and 79 miles an hour as it is. I don't see the Interstate 90 being adversely affected," said Patton.

But there is still one dangerous question left to answer.

"If we raise the speed limit, does that mean everyone is going to do 85 now? I don't know," said Evensen.

Wyoming's legislative session starts on February 10.

Texas and Utah are the only other states that have an 80 miles per hour speed limit.

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