State speed limits increase
Legal speed limits will be increased on more than 700 miles of interstate highways in Washington beginning this week. The new speed limits increase maximum legal speeds on most of the state's interstates by five miles per hour.
Interstates affected include I-5 from Vancouver to Blaine, I-405 from Tukwila to near Lynnwood, I-90 from Seattle to the Idaho border and I-82 from Ellensburg to the Oregon border, I-205 in Clark County and I-182 in the Tri-Cities.
Speeds on interstates through the state's more densely populated areas will be limited to 60 mph. Legal limits of 70 mph will be posted on interstates in the more rural areas of the state, including much of Eastern Washington.
WSDOT crews will begin posting new speed limit signs on March 11. The new interstate speed limits should be completely posted within a week.
The increases follow a month of public comment to a proposal announced last month by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), in coordination with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). The increases are based on traffic studies conducted over the past several months in response to the repeal of the federal maximum speed limit.
"Motorists must remember that until the signs are changed, the posted limits remain the law and our troopers will continue to strictly enforce them," said State Patrol Chief Annette Sandberg. "These new speed limits will allow troopers to focus on speeders and others driving dangerously."
"We will work with the department and the State Patrol to monitor the interstates over the next year," said Traffic Safety Commission Director John Moffat. "We are confident these changes will not endanger Washington drivers, but we will be watching closely."
Washington state law establishes a 60 mph basic speed for state highways. Both decreases and increases to that basic speed are authorized by law, but both must be based on engineering and traffic investigations by WSDOT.
State law also mandates a maximum speed limit of 70 mph, with the exception of vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross weight (large trucks) and vehicles in combination (trucks with trailers, for example). Their maximum speed is 60 mph.