In an earlier blog I questioned the Oregon Department of Transportation’s decision to raise the speed limit to 65 on certain Oregon roadways where many serious crashes have occurred. Apparently, someone at ODOT took notice.
Yesterday, ODOT Deputy Director for Highway Paul Mather announced the agency’s decision to return today speed limits to 55 on sections of U.S. 97 and U.S. 20 where the speed limit had just been raised to 65mph in March 2016. Change back to 55 will become effective the few weeks, just as soon as new signs can be posted.
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)
The speed reductions are based on new engineering testing showing the above areas to be high crash risk. Criteria for speed reduction included speed, traffic volume, crash history and driveway and public street density as cross roadways. Deputy Director Mather promises to continue to re-consider speed limits as safety data becomes available. Yesterday’s speed limit reductions affect 35 miles of Oregon highway. Oregon State Speed Zone Review Panel will meet later this year to determine whether the speed reductions should be permanent.