More than three dozen states have speed limits of 70 m.p.h. or
higher, with some roads in Texas and Utah allowing motorists to travel
as fast as 80 or 85 m.p.h.
Now Pennsylvania is looking to join the 70 mph club. The speed limit on much of the entire Pennsylvania Turnpike could rise to 70 m.p.h. by next summer, Turnpike officials said this
Interstate 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania, which will go to 70 m.p.h next month.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a 100-mile stretch of the turnpike, between the Blue Mountain Interchange (Exit 201) and the Morgantown Interchange (Exit 298), in the southwestern part of the state went to 70 m.p.h last week. The speed along the tolled roadway is 65 m.p.h.
There are no plans to raise speed limits on other highways around urban areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, said Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch.
"You won't see any changes at all in any of the urban areas," he said.
But the turnpike limits in those urban areas could also rise.
On August 11, 70 m.p.h limits will go into effect, as part of a pilot program, on 88 miles of Interstate 80, from exit 101 in Clearfield County to Clinton County; and on 21 miles of Interstate 380 from Interstate 84 in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mt. Pocono) in Monroe County.
The secretary said the push to move to a higher speed limit comes in response to how motorists drive currently: many already drive above the current limit.
Nonetheless, he said, the new 70 m.p.h. zone on the Turnpike will be monitored for at least six months to determine if there are any problems. If there are, the limit could be reduced.
There was no posted speed limit when the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940. That changed in 1941, when the limit was set at 70 m.p.h. In 1966, the limit was reduced to 65 m.p.h.