Drivers on some two-lane highways in western and northern Minnesota will soon be able to drive 60 miles per hour, legally.
The speed limit on 340 miles of highways will rise from 55 mph over the next few weeks. The new speed limits will go into effect when signs are posted, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
Among the highways that will have faster speeds include segments totaling 111 miles along Hwy. 55, segments totaling 65 miles along Hwy. 23 and 54 miles along Hwy. 212.
A legislative mandate required MnDOT to commence a study of all two-lane highways that have a speed limit of 55 mph over a five-year period. In 2014, the department evaluated 570 miles of highway and deemed the higher speeds appropriate for an increase, according to a report submitted to the Legislature in January.
MnDOT looked at several attributes of each highway that was studied, including past crash rates, highway shoulder widths and access points and the speed drivers are currently going.
“A speed study gives MnDOT the opportunity to review speed limits on all 55 mph roads in Minnesota and identify the ones that can support a higher speed limit without compromising safety,” said Julie Whitcher, assistant state traffic safety engineer.
Minnesota has about 7,000 miles of two-lane highways that will be studied over the next four years. In 2015, MnDOT will look at 1,500 miles of highways.