(SALEM)—ODOT Deputy Director for Highway Paul Mather announced today that speed limits for two segments of U.S. 97 and two segments of U.S. 20 will be reduced to 55 mph. The changes will take effect when new speed limit signs are posted—expected in the next two to three weeks and come after a review of the March speed limit increases.
“Engineering analyses and review of crash data indicate that there are some areas where the speed limit should be lower,” Mather said. “We are implementing temporary speed zone orders that allow ODOT to reduce speeds in these areas as soon as signs can be posted.”
The four segments where ODOT is reducing the speed limit from 65 to 55 mph are:
U.S. 97 from Madras to Terrebonne (about 16.5 miles)
U.S. 97 at the La Pine south city limit (1 mile)
U.S. 20 from the Bend east city limit to Dodds Road (6 miles)
U.S. 20 from Vale to Cairo Junction (about 11.5 miles)
Speed limits increased on about 300 miles of interstate highway and about 1,200 miles of non-interstate highways March 1, following a new state law. ODOT traffic engineers performed initial engineering analyses and studied crash data on these roadways, reviewing both the characteristics of the road and how drivers reacted to driving at higher speeds. Criteria included speed, traffic volume, crash history and density of driveways and public streets connecting to the highway. This initial analysis led to this announcement to reduce speed on about 35 highway miles.
These temporary speed zone orders will last for one year. During that time, ODOT will refine the criteria; evaluate the performance of more highway segments; and discuss the analysis with the State Speed Zone Review Panel to determine if the changes should be made permanent.
“We will continue to analyze how drivers are reacting to traveling at higher speeds on highway segments with complex characteristics,” Mather said. “And when justified, we will recommend changing speeds on other segments.”
Oregon Department of Transportation Daily Digest — June 7