HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Motorists will get to go faster, up to 70 mph, on nearly 1,000 miles of Pennsylvania highway once transportation crews complete work they began this week posting signs with the new speed limit.
State transportation officials said Monday the 70 mph signs will be posted on 396 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 400 miles of five state highways. That's in addition to about 200 miles where the speed limit rose to 70 in 2014.
Roadways that will get the new 70 mph signs include sections of Interstates 79, 80, 99 and 380 and US 15. The speed limit will rise on all remaining sections of the turnpike system that are now posted at 65 mph, including extensions in southwestern Pennsylvania, officials said.
Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards said agency officials studied factors such as speed, traffic data and the physical characteristics of the highways before deciding where it would be safe to raise the speed limit.
Areas that did not qualify for the increase had crash histories, work zones, heavy or weaving traffic or other characteristics that made a higher limit less safe, officials said.
About three dozen states already have speed limits of 70 mph or higher. Pennsylvania lawmakers allowed the higher speed limits in a 2013 law that also raised motorist taxes and fees in an effort to deliver more than $2 billion extra per year to transportation improvements.
NEW 70 MPH LIMIT ON PENNDOT ROADWAYS
- I-79 from I-90 in Erie County, 97 miles south to just north of the PA 228 interchange in Butler County.
- I-79 from I-70 in Washington County, 33 miles south to the West Virginia border.
- I-80 from the Ohio state border, 190 miles east to a point near mile marker 190 in Clinton County.
- I-80 near mile marker 195 in Union County, 52 miles east to a point near mile marker 247 in Columbia County.
- US 15 from the interchange with PA 14 in Lycoming County, 49 miles north to the New York state border.
- I-99 from Exit No. 68 in Centre County, 34 miles south to a point near mile marker 34 in Blair County.
- I-99 from Exit No. 28 in Blair County, 28 miles south to the intersection with the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bedford County.
- I-380 from I-84 in Lackawanna County, 21 miles south to Exit No. 3 in Monroe County.
ON THE TURNPIKE
Almost 90 percent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or 493 miles of the 552-mile system, will be 70 mph.
Places where the speed limit is 55 mph will not rise, including work zones; tunnels; mainline toll plazas; the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountains; and the seven-mile stretch east of the Bensalem Interchange in Bucks County.
In 2014, the Turnpike speed limit rose to 70 mph on a 97-mile stretch in southcentral Pennsylvania between the Blue Mountain and Morgantown interchanges.