Business commuters who say they “can’t drive 55” will be getting a boost starting today.
In a partnership between the state Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the speed limit is being raised to 70 mph on many stretches of road across the state.
Carl DeFebo, director of public relations and marketing for PennDOT, said as of today, 90 percent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, including the stretch of the Northeast Extension that runs through the Greater Lehigh Valley, will go from 65 to 70 mph.
Areas of the Turnpike now posted at 55 mph will remain at 55 mph, including work zones and the system’s five tunnels.
But faster turnpike traffic is about all residents in the Greater Lehigh Valley can expect.
“We did studies and determined it would be safe to increase the speed limit in these areas,” DeFebo said.
He said not all areas were appropriate for an increase in speed, especially in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
Because of heavy traffic congestion in the region, and a higher volume of traffic accidents, most of the PennDOT-operated roads won’t get higher speed limits in this region, DeFebo said.
The areas that are approved for the increased speed are:
• Interstate 79 from Interstate 90 in Erie County south to a point just north of the PA 228 interchange in Butler County (97 miles).
• I-79 from Interstate 70 in Washington County south to the West Virginia border (33 miles).
• Interstate 80 from the Ohio State border east to a point near mile marker 190 in Clinton County (190 miles).
• I-80 from a point near mile marker 195 in Union County to a point near mile marker 247 in Columbia County (52 miles).
• U.S. 15 from the interchange with Pennsylvania Route 14 in Lycoming County north to the New York State border (49 miles).
• Interstate 99 from Exit No. 68 in Centre County south to a point near mile marker 34 in Blair County (34 miles).
• I-99 from Exit No. 28 in Blair County south to mile marker 0 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) in Bedford County (28 miles).
• Interstate 380 from Interstate 84 in Lackawanna County south to Exit No. 3 in Monroe County (21 miles).
DeFebo said PennDOT will continue to review crash statistics for the newly posted areas and will consider information generated from ongoing studies before deciding on other areas that could see the higher limit.