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Bill introduced to raise freeway speed limits

Published: Saturday, Sept. 5 2015 7:19 a.m. MDT

A speed limit sign is posted along I-15 Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, near Roy. Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is sponsoring HB80, which would allow the Utah Department of Transportation determine the eligibility of freeways for increased speed limits. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) A speed limit sign is posted along I-15 Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, near Roy. Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is sponsoring HB80, which would allow the Utah Department of Transportation determine the eligibility of freeways for increased speed limits. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill was introduced Tuesday that would allow for higher speed limits on more Utah freeways.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is sponsoring HB80, which would allow the Utah Department of Transportation to determine the eligibility of freeways for increased speed limits.

Dunnigan said eligibility would be determined by crash data and whether the road is engineered to accommodate higher speeds. Most of the changes, he expects, would be from 75 mph to 80 mph.

“The correct posted speed should be that at which the prevailing flow of traffic goes,” he said.

After reporting that test stretches over the past few years haven’t led to an increase in accidents or fatalities, Dunnigan explained that people’s behavior didn’t change much after speed limits were raised.

“What we’re allowing them to do is just do legally what they’re already doing. But we’re doing that because we can do that safely,” Dunnigan said.

UDOT is looking at stretches of I-70 from Green River to the Colorado border and the I-15 rebuild in Utah County, as well as other areas along the Wasatch Front.

— Madeleine Brown

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company