Logan Hawkes

On  your mark...get set...and ready to go!

That may be what you feel like saying next time you slide behind the wheel of your fastest vehicle and head down a stretch of Texas roadway this spring or summer driving season...and this time legally faster than you ever have before.

Not so long ago the 82nd Texas Legislature passed and Governor Rick signed House Bill 1201 which allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to establish speeds of up to 85 mph on certain Texas highways that were originally designed to accommodate such speeds. Last week TxDOT recommended to the Commission that speed limits be raised on two more Texas roadways after engineering studies showed that higher speeds could be posted safely.

Once the new signs go up drivers around Austin can burn fuel a little faster on segments of SH 130 from Georgetown to Mustang Ridge and SH 45SE from Mustang Ridge to I-35 in south Travis County where 80 mph limits have been designated for 54 miles of state highways.

Motorists must continue to travel at the posted speed until new signs are installed and the new speed limit is not official until the signs go up, Rawson added.

TxDOT is continuing speed studies on U.S. highways, state highways, farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads currently posted at 70 mph. Legislators passed HB 1353 last year that allows the department to establish 75 mph speed limits on Texas highways providing speed studies show it can be done safely.

Prior to last year’s legislation, Texas had 1,445 miles of 75 mph speed limits and 521 miles of 80 mph speed limits on certain state highways. These speed limits were previously restricted to specific rural counties and highways located mostly in West Texas. Texas now has more than 3,000 miles zoned at 75 mph or higher, and 575 miles posted at 80 mph.