WYDOT to Begin Study for 80 mph Speed Limit Law

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Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - There is over 900 miles of interstate highway in Wyoming. Beginning this summer drivers could be covering those miles quicker than ever.
The Wyoming Legislature has passed House Bill 12, a law that would allow WYDOT to raise speed limits from 75 to 80 miles per hour pending their study to see what sections a raised speed limit would be safe.
"Can a car drive that road safely based on the design of the roadway. We'll look at the 85th percentile. That being 85 percent of the cars travel at a certain speed," said Del McOmie, Chief Engineer for WYDOT.
WYDOT estimates the 85th percentile in Wyoming to be 79 miles per hour. According the national manual, the 85th percentile should be within five miles per hour of the posted speed limit.
"The 75 mile an hour speed limit is posted correctly for what we're seeing in Wyoming drivers right now, but 80 would obviously be closer. So we're going to look at the environmental effects. We're going to look at the safety aspects and we're going to look at the traffic speeds that are out there right now," McOmie said.
Some areas, WYDOT already knows, probably won't be seeing the increase.
"Some of those being in the marginal areas, say here in Cheyenne where you have a lot of off-ramps and on-ramps, merging traffic,” said McOmie.
Other areas in southeast Wyoming are very likely candidates to see the bump.
"I think some of your areas where you have a flatter terrain say out west of Laramie, over towards Pine Bluffs your roadway is fairly straight," McOmie said.
The law will go into effect on July 1 pending the Governor's approval.
Wyoming would join only Utah and Texas as states that have speed limits posted above 75 miles per hour.

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