Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Raise the speed limit to 75 mph? Why Not!

Let's face it.  The speed limit on Interstate 275 is 65 mph in Pinellas County and 55 mph in Hillsborough County, save for a small stretch of Interstate 275 at Interstate 4 (Exit 45B) where it drops to 50 mph due to the sharp curves despite the improvements made.  There are two locations where Interstate 275's speed limit is 70 mph:  From US 19 south (Exit 5) to Interstate 275's southern terminus at Interstate 75 in Manatee County and from the Livingston Road underpass a couple of miles north of Bearss Avenue (Exit 53) to Interstate 275's northern terminus at Interstate 75 at the Hillsborough-Pasco County line.
South of the Livingston Road underpass the speed limit on Interstate 275 drops to 65 mph, then to 60 mph, and by the time you get to Busch Boulevard (FL 580, Exit 50) the speed limit drops to 55 mph.
Too slow?  Remember back to the days when both Interstate 275 and Interstate 75 had the 55 mph speed limit, put there by federal mandate.  Today the states, including Florida, can decide what speed limit to put up on their interstate highways.
But things might change, if Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg gets his way, according to this Bay News 9 article.
From reading the article, it would mean that highways signed for 70 mph would increase to 75 mph.  Highways signed for 60 mph and 65 mph would see increases of 5 mph to 65 and 70 mph respectively.
I agree many more:  65 or 70 mph is still slow by today's standards.  But the bill being proposed by Senator Brandes I feel needs one more tweak:  Raise the speed limit on Alligator Alley - the tolled section of Interstate 75 between Naples and Ft. Lauderdale, currently at 70 mph - to 85 mph.  Besides, Alligator Alley is four lanes of practically endless Everglades with one exception at Snake Road (Exit 49) where a gas station and convenience store are located.  Besides, Alligator Alley would be the only place in Florida with an 85 mph speed limit.
Want proof that there is a section of highway in the US of A signed at 85 mph?  There is indeed one place:  A toll road in Texas between San Antonio and Austin, Texas State Highway 130 on the segment between Mustang Ridge and Seguin.
I think the speed limit on Florida's interstate highways including Interstate 275 should be raised somehow.  And it's overdue.
But wait until the law gets passed and the Florida DOT changes the signs, of course.

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