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US131 and other roads see speed limit increases


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MDOT-logo-fcIf you travel US131 north from Cedar Springs, you can now legally make the drive just a little faster. That’s because US131, from M-57 (14 Mile) north to the end of the freeway, is one of the routes recently chosen for a speed increase from 70 to 75 mph.

N-MichiganStatePolice-logoIn accordance with new state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police (MSP) have identified 600 miles of freeway for speed limit increases to 75 mph, and 900 miles of non-freeway state highways for speed limit increases to 65 mph. Select freeway routes had increased speed limits posted beginning May 1.

Public Act 445, passed by the state Legislature in late 2016, tasked the two agencies with increasing speed limits on some state highways and freeways based on 85th percentile speeds (the speed at or below which 85 percent of traffic is moving) and the results of engineering and safety studies. The law requires that these modified speed limits be in place prior to Jan. 5, 2018.

“The corridors identified by MDOT and MSP were selected not only because studies indicated most drivers were already driving at those increased speeds, but also because their design and safety features were best suited to these speed limits,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We reviewed design speeds, crash patterns, number of access points, traffic volumes and continuity of these corridors, and chose them to minimize necessary improvements for higher speed limits.”

“The engineering and safety studies conducted utilized the 85th percentile speed, which is a national scientifically proven method to determine and establish safe speed limits,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Troopers and motor carrier officers do, and will continue to, aggressively enforce all posted speed limits to ensure compliance by the motoring public.”

MDOT began posting new speed limits beginning May 1, starting with three freeway routes:

I-75: From Bay City to US-23 in Mackinaw City (Bay, Arenac, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Crawford, Otsego, Cheboygan, and Emmet counties), and St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie (Mackinac and Chippewa counties).

US127: From I-69 to the end of the freeway at St. Johns (Clinton County), and the beginning of the freeway at Ithaca to I75 (Gratiot, Isabella, Clare, Roscommon, and Crawford counties)

US131: From M-57 to the end of the freeway north of Manton (Kent, Montcalm, Mecosta, Osceola, and Wexford counties).

New speed limits will be posted on those three routes by mid-May.

MDOT also will begin installing sign overlays reflecting the new 65 mph speed limit for trucks and buses on state roadways with posted speed limits of 65 mph or greater. The new maximum speed limit for trucks and buses was another change prompted by Public Act 445.

MDOT and MSP are finalizing the administrative processes and signing traffic control orders to implement increased speed limits on the remaining freeway and non-freeway corridors. New speed limits will be posted on all of the selected freeway and non-freeway routes prior to mid-November.

While implementing these modified speed limits, MDOT also will install advisory speed and curve warning signs, shorten passing zones, move signs, and change pavement markings where necessary. Reduced speed limits in communities along these corridors will remain in place.

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