If you’re ever down in Texas and have a hankering to work out that lead foot of yours, head for State Highway 130. Provided you’re willing to pay, you can be like other Texans who pay to drive 85 mph. Texas drivers will soon be able to legally lay rubber on a section of the toll road between Austin and San Antonio.
Like a bat out of Lubbock
How driving 85 mph on the highway plays into the state’s motto about driving friendly is anyone’s guess, but it could have something to do with the fact that for all the accidents speed limits help prevent, driving faster can also help alleviate road congestion and save accidents by intimidating drivers who can barely see over the steering wheel from hitting the highway in the first place. If that isn’t friendly to competent drivers, then nothing is.
Liberal speed limits
Texas already allows 80 mph speeds on parts of I-20 and I-10, albeit in empty, straight rural areas of the gigantic state. Texas Highway 130, which perhaps not coincidentally is located near a new Formula One race track, is now under construction. Assuming legislation regarding higher speed limits passes, reports indicate the stretch of highway will become the highway with the highest posted speed limit in the Western Hemisphere, according to KWTX.com. The law can only apply to new roads built to the highest design parameters.
The Texas Department of Transportation said today a toll road being built from San Antonio to north of Austin could be the first road in the country to have a posted 85 mile per hour speed limit.
“It was designed under extremely high design parameters,” said Darren McDaniel, speed management director for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Texas State Highway 130 is intended to alleviate traffic loads off the overcrowded Interstate 35 between San Antonio and north of Austin, which Jalopnik indicates is one of the most heavily congested highways in the U.S. Most of the new freeway is already built, and the current posted speed limit is 80 mph. Texas DOT officials plan to open the remainder of State Highway 130 by year’s end. It is being built by Spanish company Cintra, which has a well-documented history with Governor Rick Perry, sources indicate.
“We’ll definitely take a look at that stretch, and we will conduct speed studies to see what that speed limit will be,” said McDaniel.
Not the Autobahn
While legendary highways like the Autobahn permit drivers to legally hit speeds well over 85 mph, speed limit signs reportedly aren’t posted. Thus, if Texas State Highway 130 gets the posted 85 mph speed limit, European rental car company Rhino Car Hire notes that it would be the second-highest posted speed limit in the world, behind the 140 kph (86 mph) limit posted on select roads in Poland.
That’s well and good for Poland, claim some Texas officials, but many are concerned that higher speeds will mean more fatal accidents. McDaniel points out, however, that the safest roads in the state are the ones where drivers travel at the same speed.
“The more people we can get to travel a uniform speed, the safer are the conditions that will exist,” he said during an interview with WOAI News Radio San Antonio.
How fast can you go in Texas?
Economic Policy Journal: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/09/rick-perry-s-cintra-problem.html