2017-05-04 / News

Speed Limits Will Soon Increase on 1,500 Miles of Michigan Highways

Speed limits for 1,500 miles of Michigan highways, including I-75 from Bay City to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie, will soon increase as the result of a bill passed by lawmakers and signed into law late in 2016.

The designated stretch of I-75 is part of 600 miles of freeway for which the speed limit will become 75 miles an hour. The maximum legal speed has been 70 miles an hour on state freeways for decades.

Top speed for another 900 miles of non-freeway highways will become 65 miles an hour as the new speed limit signs are posted. That includes US-2 between St. Ignace and Rapid River.

Workers were to start installing the new speed limit signs Monday, May 1, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation, starting with these three limited-access freeway routes:

I-75 – Bay City to US-23 in Mackinaw City, and St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie.

US-127 – I-69 to the end of the freeway at St. Johns, and the beginning of the freeway at Ithaca to I- 75.

US-131 – M-57 to the end of the freeway north of Manton.

The new law permits the transportation department and Michigan State Police to boost limits on certain state routes based on speeds at or below which 85% of traffic is moving, together with the findings from engineering and safety studies. It requires the department to make those modifications by next January 5.

“The corridors identified by [the transportation department and state police] were selected not only because studies indicated most drivers already were driving at those increased speeds, but also because their design and safety features were best suited to these speed limits,” said State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle. “We reviewed design speeds, crash patterns, number of access points, traffic volumes, and continuity of these corridors, and chose them to minimize necessary improvements for higher speed limits.”

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the state police, said the 85thpercentile speed is a national, scientifically proven way to establish safe speed limits, and added that the limits will be aggressively enforced.

New speed signs along the three freeway routes will be up by mid- May, transportation department officials said.

Highway workers also are installing sign overlays reflecting a new 65 mile-an-hour speed limit for trucks and buses on state roadways with posted speed limits of 65 mph or greater. That, too, is required by the new law.

The transportation department and state police are completing and administrative process and signing traffic control orders for the remaining freeway and non-freeway miles that will get higher speed limits, officials said. All new limits will be posted by mid-November, they say.

Additional freeway stretches designated for higher speeds are:

I-69 – I-69 Business Route (Saginaw Highway) to Swartz Creek.

I-69 – From the Genesee/Lapeer county line to I-94.

US-10 – M-115 to I-75

US-31 – South Oceana County line to US-10.

These non-freeway corridors will get 65-miles-an-hour speed limit signs:

*US-2 – St. Ignace to Rapid River.

US-23 – East of Cheboygan to east of M-65.

US-45 – North of US-2 to M-26.

M-28 – East of Harvey to Christmas.

M-28 – Munising to I-75.

M-28 – Wakefield to US-41.

M-32 – Atlanta to Alpena.

M-33 – Atlanta to Onaway.

M-37 – Mesick to Wolf Lake.

M-55 – US-31 to Cadillac West.

US-2 – Wakefield to Iron River.

M-65 – US-23 to M-32 west junction.

M-65 – M-32 east junction to US-23.

M-68 – I-75 to US-23.

M-72 – Grayling to Mio.

M-72 – Fairview to M-65 north junction.

M-72 – M-65 south junction to Harrisville.

M-77 – US-2 to M-28.

M-115 – Benzonia to Mesick.

M-123 – I-75 to Paradise.

M-231 – M-45 to M-104.

M-65 – US-23 to M-32 west junction.

M-65 – M-32 east junction to US-23.

M-68 – I-75 to US-23.

M-72 – Grayling to Mio.

M-72 – Fairview to M-65 north junction.

M-72 – M-65 south junction to Harrisville.

M-77 – US-2 to M-28.

M-72 – Grayling to Mio

M-72 – Fairview to M-65 north junction

M-72 – M-65 south junction to Harrisville

M-77 – US-2 to M-28

M-115 – Benzonia to Mesick

M-123 – I-75 to Paradise

M-231 – M-45 to M-104

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