UDOT proposes creating more 80 mph zones on Utah interstates

Posted at 4:06 PM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-21 20:03:48-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Some roadways in Utah could see speed limit increases under a proposal from the Utah Department of Transportation to move more areas from 75 mph to 80 mph.

UDOT first raised speed limits on some rural highways, up to 80 miles per hour, back in 2013. A lot of drivers will recall that the speed limits on interstates in and around the Wasatch Front went up late last year--in many places from 65 to 70 mph.

Now, three highways could see the speed limit go up, and if all of the proposals are approved, speeds up to 80 miles per hour would be allowed on some portion of almost every highway in Utah.

Interstate 80 between Echo Junction and the Wyoming State line would go from 75 to 80 miles per hour, as would stretches of I-84 connecting the Ogden area with Interstate 80. Additionally, several miles of Interstate 70, which runs through the middle of the state, could also go from 75 to 80 mph.

"There's areas where the geography doesn't make sense, or there are twists and turns, we haven't changed the speed limit,” said UDOT Spokesman John Gleason. “There are some stretches there that we have looked at, are the straightaways that make more sense.”

UDOT has presented their plans to the Utah Highway Patrol, and they said if there's no strong opposition, the new speed limits could go into place in just a matter of a few weeks.

Fatalities on Utah roadways have increased by about a third in the past year, but officials with Utah Highway Patrol said that has less to do with speed limits and more to do with distracted driving and people not buckling up.

More than half those who've died on Utah roads in the past year were not using seat belts.