More area roads get 70-mph speed limit

From staff reportsSeptember 24, 2013 

Drivers will soon be able to legally go a little faster on some local highways.

The N.C. Department of Transportation announced Monday that it will increase the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on three major roads by the end of September. They are:

Interstate 540 between Glenwood Avenue and Interstate 40.

All of N.C. 540, including the Triangle Expressway.

N.C. 147 between N.C. 540 and I-40.

The changes mean the speed limit on I-540, known as the Outer Loop, will now be 70 mph along its entire length across Wake County. In February, the DOT bumped up the speed limit for a 21-mile stretch from U.S. 64-264 near Knightdale west to Glenwood Avenue.

DOT officials say they reviewed crash data and road characteristics such as lane and shoulder widths along the stretches of road and concluded they will remain safe at the higher speed.

“These roads are among our safest highways, and we expect that they will continue to be,” state traffic engineer Kevin Lacy said.

The Regional Transportation Alliance, a nonprofit business group that lobbies for road and transit improvements, had asked DOT to allow the higher speeds on 540 and other Triangle freeways. Last year, DOT approved faster speeds on Wake Avenue Extension in West Raleigh (60 mph) and on U.S. 1 from Apex through Sanford (70 mph.)

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