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Posted on May 12, 2016

State won’t raise I-90 speed limit at George

Staff report
GEORGE – The Washington State Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that, due to safety concerns, it will not increase the speed limit on Interstate 90 near George.
State agencies reviewed increasing the speed limit from 70 to 75 mph along roughly 100 miles of I-90 beginning near George to the Lincoln/Spokane county line. They found the increased risks and costs associated with the proposed change far outweighed the projected time savings, according to a press release.
In particular, analysis of the roadway, crash history, current speeds and other states’ experiences predicted an additional 1.27 fatal or serious crashes annually if the speed limit was raised. A higher speed limit also would bring an estimated $8.3 million in additional annual safety costs, the analysis found.
By comparison, the review found that raising the speed limit to 75 mph would save just an estimated five minutes on a 100-mile trip, with an estimated annual value of $3.6 million in time saved.
“Our top priority as agencies is traffic safety,” said Acting Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “We made this decision through a lens of safety, and it’s notable that all three agencies agreed the increased safety risks were too high.”
The review was done at the request of Eastern Washington lawmakers who wanted the feasibility of an increased speed limit evaluated. A law passed in 2015 allows for an increase if it’s deemed safe to do so.

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