Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Approves Proposal To Raise Speed Limits On Rural Turnpikes

Tuesday, July 28th 2020, 12:07 pm
By: News 9, Tevis Hillis

HARRAH, Okla. -

New speed limit signs on some of Oklahoma's turnpikes will soon say limits are increased to 80 miles per hour.

While the speed increase can bring up safety concerns, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Secretary Gatz said the change could not have been done without serious consideration.

"Our engineers have taken a really hard look at the conditions out there and have determined that the speed limit increases are appropriate,” Gatz said.

The change will impact more than 100 miles worth of turnpikes in Oklahoma. Officials will begin changing signs over the next two months.

The turnpikes include the Turner, Muskogee, Cherokee, Indian Nation, H.E. Bailey and Kickapoo.

After House Bill 1071 passed, officials began to study a potential change.

"These particular segments had the right conditions or the right traffic patterns and low accident history," Gatz said.

If there is an increase in accidents, authorities will reevaluate the speed limit.

"If we begin to see accident increases or problems begin to materialize on the network, we will come back, and we will adjust those speed limits accordingly,” Gatz said.

The speed limit change is not an automatic switch.

"The black and white speed limit is what the troopers will enforce," Gatz said.

Officials said the Kilpatrick and Creek turnpikes could be considered in the future. It will depend on how drivers handle the current changes.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission will consider recommendations at its August 3 meeting for maximum speed limit increases on segments of rural interstates maintained by ODOT.