Many of Wisconsin’s interstate routes and some limited access highways had speed limits increased to 70 miles per hour earlier this year, and more could see the change made early next year.
Brett Matthews, a Department of Transportation manager for the north central region, says there are a few areas that may still get approval for faster speeds. “We’re looking at a couple of segments on Highway 10. One of them is in Portage County and the other in Waupaca County, and we’re also continuing to look at U.S. 51 and 29 in the Marathon County and Shawano County areas.”
The DOT is currently doing speed studies and evaluating other traffic movements to help determine if the current 70 mile per hour zones can be expanded. Matthews says that takes time because they need to collect a lot of data. “Other things we’re looking at are what is the interchange spacing? How does that relate? What are the weaving movements, which would be people coming on from ramps and then heading off, and then looking at other things such as the concurrency with other segments that already are marked at 70 miles an hour.”
Matthews says the studies are not complete, and drivers should not expect any changes over the winter months. “At this point in time, right now, the segments that are at 70 miles an hour will stay at 70 miles an hour through the winter. The segments that are at 65 right now will stay at 65 throughout the winter. We’re going to be taking a look at them through the winter, and we will be doing any signing changes that we determine necessary come spring.”
The Department of Transportation is also studying other highways in other management districts of the state. Matthews says if the studies show the speeds can be safely raised, they will announce where next spring.
Contributed by Larry Lee, WSAU