Drivers on the MoPac express lanes may get where they’re going a little faster with new speed limits. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board voted yesterday to raise the top speed from 65 to 70 mph on its express lanes. The board also raised minimum speed limits on the variable toll lanes to 55 mph.
Justin Word, CTRMA's engineering director said the increases are meant to keep traffic moving.
"We, unfortunately, have seen some illegal unsafe shoulder passing maneuvers on the facility, so there is some pent-up demand to get around folks that are going extremely slow," Word said.
The board’s vice chair, Nikelle Meade, voted against the new limits over concerns that some drivers would only go the minimum speed.
"I have a concern about posting 55 mph and then somebody’s like ‘Well, I’m going 55. I’m good. I don’t care if there are 400 people behind me,'" Meade said. "So that’s my concern, and for that reason I’m actually not going to support the item. [I'm] totally in support of increasing the speed limit to 70, but I really have an issue with the minimum."
Word said the mobility authority hasn't necessarily seen speed-related crashes on MoPac's express lanes, and that most crashes happened near merging lanes and ramps in the non-tolled lanes.
CTRMA expects to spend about $80,000 to install new signage along the 11-miles of express lanes. The new speed limit will go into effect as soon as the new signs are installed.