The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) completed installation of 70 mph speed limit signs in November, more than a month before the estimated completion date of December 31st. The initiative results in 61% of Virginia’s interstates having speed limits of 70 mph.
The last segments – Interstate 95 from Ashland to Spotsylvania, the southern piece of I-81 from Christiansburg to the Tennessee line, and all sections of I-77 – were completed the week of November 15th.
In the Winchester area speed limits were raised on sections of I-81 both north and south of the city. The heavily trafficked interchange areas at Winchester have remained at the 65 MPH speed limit.
Legislation allowing 70 mph speed limits went into effect July 1, 2010, and the first sign changes – I-295 from the Lafrance Road underpass, just south of I-64 to the I-295/I95 Interchange – took place at that time.
Engineering studies were conducted on all segments of the interstates where the speed limit was increased. Studies included a review of crash patterns and history to select locations where increased speed would not exacerbate an existing problem. None of the segments recommended for the 70 mph speed limit are in high crash areas. Improvements to signage, rumble strips and guardrail are being made to further improve safety.