680 miles of Va. interstates going to 70 mph speed limit

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - By the end of 2010, hundreds of miles of Virginia interstates will see an increase in the speed limit.

With Central Virginia the convergence point for so many major roads -- local motorists will see the 70 miles per hour signs on portions of four different highways.

Signs for the increased speed limits will be posted within six to eight weeks.

"The signs are in the process of being manufactured and they'll be installed," said Connie Sorrell, with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

During a VDOT board meeting Wednesday morning, the agency announced it was moving forward with raising speed limits on 680 miles of roadway.

The move comes after state engineers studied which highways could handle faster moving traffic.

"We looked at all the safety features of the roads, physical condition of roadway, we looked at traffic operations," said Sorrell.

Here's a breakdown of where some of those higher speeds will be seen in our area.

  • Most of Interstate 295
  • Interstate 64 from Route 288 west to Charlottesville
  • I-64 East of I-295 in Richmond to Williamsburg
  • I-95 from Ashland to Spotsylvania County

Calvin Haywood, who's on the road a lot because of his job, welcomes the increased speed limits.

"It will help me get to where I need to go faster," said Haywood.

Not everyone is excited about the change.

"That's a bit fast.  It really is," said motorist, Theresa Wright.

Wright is concerned that increased speeds may lead to an increase in accidents and that some will see the 70 mph signs and go even faster.

"They'll do 80. They'll do 80," said Wright.

But VDOT says that's unlikely.

"We have one stretch that's been 70 mph for almost two years.  We've only noticed a one mile per hour increase in speed in that corridor," said Sorrell.

A law passed earlier this year by the General assembly gives VDOT  the authority to raise speed limits. During his campaign, governor Bob McDonnell proposed the speed limit increase.

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