The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) announced today that sections of I-15, I-80, and I-84 now have their legal speed limits upped to 80 miles per hour.
The announcement came as crews were covering speed limit signs that currently show the limit to be 75.
The speed limit increase is the result of House Bill 83, which was sponsored by Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville), and passed during the most recent legislative session. The bill allowed UDOT to study the feasibility and safety of establishing speed limits in Utah over 75 MPH
Objections to speed limit increases came from safety and environmental groups. Safety groups expressed concerns that drivers who choose to break the speed limit by 5, 10, or 15 miles per hour now pose an even greater risk to themselves and others. Environmental groups are concerned that car engines are less efficient at higher speeds, resulting in more gasoline being burned and emitting more pollution into the air.
Statewide, UDOT is adding an additional 289 miles of 80 MPH limits, a notable increase from the current total 84 miles. UDOT made the changes in rural areas where the topography allows for the new speeds. The three main stretches of road are I-80 from the Nevada border to SR-36, I-15 between North Leeds and Santaquin with sections of 75 MPH zones through two mountain passes and Cedar City, and I-15 and I-84 from the Brigham City North Interchange to the Idaho border.