LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Highway Commission has authorized the Arkansas highway and Transportation Department to raise speed limits on some highways.
"The Commission asked us earlier this year to study these rural highways to determine if modifications to the speed limits were warranted," said AHTD Director Scott Bennett. "Based on a thorough engineering analysis, where safety is always first, we have determined that there are sections of these highways that may warrant a raise in the speed limit."
AHTD says that around 265 miles of rural, four and five lane, undivided highways will be considered for the raising of speed limit from 55 to 60 miles per hour. Sign changes could be made within the next several weeks.
All rural four and five lane highways were reviewed by the department, excluding sections of less than two miles. 87 sections were studied in detail.
.PDF of AHTD map with table: http://www.todaysthv.com/assetpool/documents/120613043049_AHTD_Map_with_table.pdf
One of the main stretches of the speed change falls on Highway 167 in Grant County. Sheriff Ray Vance says between his department and the Arkansas State Police they average 60 tickets a month on 167. Sheriff Vance says he supports the increased speed.
"Well I actually am in favor of the speed increase. I think, again, that the improvements that's been done to this highway the last few years warrant an increase to the speed. I would not be opposed to 5 or even 10 miles an hour," says Vance.
The Arkansas Highway Department peformed a traffic and crash analysis of the highways and worked with state police on the project.
"They were aware of what we were doing. They are obviously the clearing house and the keeper of all accident records. A crash analysis is part of the study that we did conduct, but another thing we look at, I think you're kind of asking about travel patterns and how people drive. One of the things we do look at is what is the 85th percentile of the traffic that's using that road way otherwise what is the speed that 85 percent are traveling below," says Randy Ort with the Arkansas Highway Department.