UPDATE July 1: RICHMOND—Governor McDonnell today announced the first stretch of Virginia interstate to post a 70mph speed limit under new state law that goes into effect today, July 1st. Earlier today, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton unveiled the new 70mph sign along I-295 from I-95 in Prince George County south of Petersburg to just south of the Route 60/Interstate 64 interchange in Henrico County. While campaigning for governor, McDonnell proposed the speed limit increase to 70 mph in rural and less populated areas as a way to improve transportation in the commonwealth.
House Bill 856 and Senate Bill 537 passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Bob McDonnell in March, allows the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to increase the maximum highway speed limit to 70 mph on certain highways after the completion of a traffic engineering study.
Commenting about this and other recent transportation measures, Governor McDonnell, who was unable to attend today’s event, remarked, “This past session we laid an important foundation for the future of transportation in Virginia. The increase in the speed limit from 65mph to 70mph in rural and less populated areas of the state will help Virginians arrive at their destinations quicker, and safer. In May, we announced the successful sale of $492.7 million in transportation bonds to help advance projects throughout the Commonwealth; approximately $300 million in bonds will be issued in each subsequent year. Through the passage of a measure requiring a performance audit of VDOT’s planning and programming divisions, we will identify ways to save money through greater efficiencies and better plan our transportation future. Last week, the Virginia Port Authority signed a lease agreement to operate the APM Terminals, one of the world’s most technologically advanced cargo terminals, in Norfolk. This lease will greatly expand the VPA’s cargo capacity and lead to new economic development opportunities. There’s more work to be done, but we’ve laid the groundwork early to identify necessary improvements for transportation in the Commonwealth”
Speaking at this morning’s event, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling noted, “Today, Virginia joins 33 other states in increasing our permissible speed limit above 65 mph on certain Interstate highways. This increase in the speed limit will help improve day to day travel for the people of Virginia and for others who may be visiting or traveling throughout state. I look forward to working with the Virginia Department of Transportation as we implement this change on other Interstate highways in the weeks and months to come.”
“Changing the speed limit to 70 mph will increase motorist safety by allowing traffic to move at a more consistent speed and reducing the conflict between faster and slower-moving traffic. The 70 mph speed limit change will also assist travelers in shortening commute times and will more efficiently move goods and services throughout Virginia.”
Traffic Engineering Studies:
VDOT identified 741 miles of interstate highways eligible for speed limit increases under the law, and prioritized traffic engineering studies into three phases based on traffic volume, level of congestions and crash density.
Traffic engineering studies began in April in preparation for the law to become effective July 1, and work will continue into the fall to study every highway segment.
VDOT staff and consultant engineers review each eligible segment to evaluate existing road safety features, traffic data, highway crash data collected by local and state law enforcement agencies, and to estimate the cost of needed upgrades. Engineers then determine if increasing the speed limit is appropriate for each highway segment based upon their findings.
When a section of roadway is studied, it may not automatically be recommended for a speed limit increase. Speed limit increases are dependent on findings from the engineering studies and the completion of needed safety improvements to ensure the safe travel of all motorists. Speed limit changes will be posted dependant upon the available funding and schedule for any recommended roadway safety improvements identified in the studies.
Drivers are reminded that law enforcement agencies will enforce the posted speed limit on any highway. To avoid a traffic citation, motorists must travel at or below the posted speed limit on any highway.
Click here for more information about the 70 mph speed limit change and a complete listing of eligible highway segments currently being reviewed by VDOT.
The first 70mph speed limit increase in Virginia will be announced Thursday, July 1st at 10:00 a.m. Representing the Governor’s office will be Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton. The event will take place on I-295 in Prince George County.
So don’t stand anywhere near: I-295 between the I-95 interchange in Prince George County and just south of the Route 60 interchange in Henrico County.
Directions: Take I-295 to Prince George County, Exit 3 to Route 460 east, left at Route 630 (Bull Hill Road), right at Route 730 and immediate left onto F342 (frontage road).
Heck just look for the 70mph speed limit sign that says you can then go 120mph.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Local Events, Politics, State Politics
Tags: Law_enforcement, Lt_Governor, transportation