Transportation
3:30 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Speed Limits Could Increase to 70 MPH on Some PA Highways

The maximum speed limit for certain Pennsylvania roads is going up by 5 miles per hour due to a small change to a big new state law. But the more lenient limits might take a while to arrive.  

Motorists hoping for a faster trip home got their wish when lawmakers increased the maximum speed limit in Pennsylvania from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour. The change was included in the $2.3 billion transportation funding bill signed into law last month.

But PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said don’t expect the higher speed limit to become the new norm.

"I don’t think it’s going to be a widespread thing where you’re going to see an entire interstate going to 70 miles an hour," Schoch said. "But again, we’re going to start that assessment and we’ll probably have answers in the spring on that."

PennDOT still has to take a look at each roadway’s accident history and safety to see if a higher speed limit would be safe. "We will have to look at sight-distance, stopping sight distance and vertical sight distance, horizontal sight distance, look at the accident history and safety of these facilities.

Schoch said the only roads that will be candidates for the higher speed limit are the ones that are now posted at 65 miles per hour.

"Our urban areas where we’re 55 miles an hour, we’re not changing any of those," he said. "Basically you’re talking about looking at the areas where we’re 65, do we want to go to 70? And we’ll see which ones meet criteria and which ones we don’t have any safety concerns with and let you guys know this winter and spring."

And you won't see the speed limit go up and down.  

"What we won’t do is do it for short stretches," Schoch said. "In other words, we’re not going to go through and let it go up to 70 miles an hour for 10 miles and then back down to 65. It’ll be for long stretches of segments of roadway."