SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate approved a measure Friday to increase the speed limit from 75 to 80 mph on two key stretches of Top of Utah freeways.
The increase is on flat, straight portions of Interstates 15, 80 and 84. One stretch is from Brigham City to the Idaho border, and another from Tremonton to the Idaho border.
The measure, HB 83, now moves to the desk of Gov. Gary Herbert.
Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, the Senate sponsor, minimized one lawmaker’s concerns that increased speeds would lead to poor air quality along the Wasatch Front.
“As far as air quality, you could argue even though the emissions are higher, you’ll get there sooner,” Jenkins said.
State officials implemented higher speed limits in 2009 in some areas along I-15 in Southern Utah and found that the higher speed zone didn’t necessarily translate to even higher speeds or more dangerous driving.
Carlos Braceras, deputy director with the Utah Department of Transportation, said the data showing no increase in accidents in the high-speed area over four years is an indication that UDOT’s criteria for selecting the high-speed zones is working.