Texas toll road getting 85 mph speed limit

Sept. 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM
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MUSTANG RIDGE, Texas, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Before long, a stretch of Texas toll road will have the nation's highest speed limit -- 85 mph.

Motorists desiring to zip along at that speed legally will only be able to do it about 29 minutes at a time, however. That's how long it will take to traverse the 41-mile section of Texas 130 between Mustang Ridge near Austin to Seguin going 85 mph.

The speed limit approved by the Texas Transportation Commission goes into effect when the toll road is completed, which is expected to be Nov. 11, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

The 85 mph limit will put Texas ahead of Utah, where motorists are allowed to speed along at a maximum of 80 mph, the newspaper said.

Safety is a concern for some.

"Research clearly demonstrates the direct connection between higher speed limits and more fatalities," Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va., told the Chronicle. "When speed limits go up, deaths on those roads go up. When speed limits go down, deaths on those roads go down."

Chris Lippincott, a spokesman for the consortium that is building the road, said state transportation officials have determined the highway can be traveled safely at 85 mph.

"We are committed to operating a safe, reliable highway for our customers," Lippincott said. "On any road, drivers hold the key to safety based on traffic, travel conditions and the capabilities of their own vehicles."

Claiming the national speed limit record has already ignited criticism.

"As accidents pile up on on 85-mph roads, so too will insurance claims," said David Snyder of the American Insurance Association in a newspaper editorial last year. "That will lead to increased insurance costs."

How much it will cost for the privilege of driving on the road has yet to be determined.

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