PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Where are the 70 miles per hour speed limit signs?
The Pennsylvania Legislature included the increase in the speed limit in the massive transportation bill that Gov. Tom Corbett signed in late October. Yet nine months later, not a single sign change has been made.
“Just make up a bunch of little square signs and put 70 up,” said one driver in the Bridgeville rest area on I-79.
Prompting Sen. Jay Costa to say, “You would think it would be that easy, but at the end of the day given some of the other factors that need to be considered. There is assessment and analysis that needs to go into it, but certainly, you would think it would be done by now. We’re now eight months removed from the legislation passing.”
PennDOT and the Turnpike say there is no orchestrated delay to implementing 70 miles per hour in Pennsylvania.
PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says the state’s highways are “still under review” to decide where 70 miles per hour should be allowed.
He says PennDOT wants to “ensure that we do this as safely as possible.” So they are looking at each road to determine whether “the geography can handle the change in speed.”
Due to the high population of the area, Allegheny County has only 11.5 miles of interstate and 13.7 miles of non-interstate eligible for the higher speed.
Beaver County has 9.5 miles of interstate eligible. Westmoreland County has just under 10 miles of non-interstate on the list, and almost 25 miles of interstate in Washington county is eligible. Fayette County has five and a half miles of non-interstate eligible. All of Interstate 79 in Greene County is eligible.
Those numbers do not include the Pennsylvania Turnpike where spokesman Carl DeFabo says they are still “doing studies,” taking into consideration construction, tunnels, mountains and curves, making sure any part of the road considered for a speed limit boost is “conducive for 70 miles per hour.”
While both DeFabo and Kirkpatrick would only say announcements would be coming soon, Sen. Costa tells KDKA, “The Turnpike next week will be implementing [70 miles per hour on] a portion of the Turnpike in District 3 where they will be increasing it from 65 to 70. It’s a pilot program so to speak to allow them to further access where it’s appropriate.”
Costa says the first phase is “primarily Central Pennsylvania, going between Harrisburg and Reading area.”
No word on how soon the rest of the state will be switched to 70 miles per hours.
Both Ohio and West Virginia also studied their road before going to 70 miles per hour. Ohio was able to implement the change within four months. The switch took about five months in West Virginia.
The Turnpike’s DeFabo says drivers should remember that the higher speed limit does not take effect until it is posted.