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Crews install new 70 mph freeway speed limit signs

(Ravell Call/Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Ninety-nine new signs went up along I-15 and I-215 Monday through the urban areas of the Wasatch Front proclaiming the speed limit had been officially raised from 65 mph to 70 mph.

Crews from the Utah Department of Transportation started early in the morning and were expected to complete the changeover by Monday night. UDOT spokesman John Gleason said some signs had "70" decals placed over top of the current "65," while older signs were taken down and replaced.

Gleason said his office has received both positive and negative feedback about raising the speed limit.

"We are very confident in the engineering studies that we've conducted over the past several months; safety studies as well," he said. "And really, our goal is to set the appropriate speed limits, and that's what we feel we've done here."

Gleason said the speed limit is based on national standards that say it should be reflective of what 85 percent of motorists are already driving.

Utah Highway Patrol officials declined comment Monday regarding the increased speed limit, saying only that they were ready to go out and enforce the new law, and let their previous comments stand.

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In November, UHP officials said they were opposed to the change, noting that troopers had responded to 20 percent more fatalities in 2014 over last year.

But UDOT officials don't believe raising the speed limit will result in overall traffic going significantly faster. They say their data show that most accidents happen because drivers are traveling excessively faster than the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.

The new speed limit signs will be posted along I-15 from Spanish Fork to Ogden, on all of I-215, and on I-80 from about 5600 West to 1300 East.

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Pat Reavy

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