Speed limit now 65 on US 2

Work on parts of M-28 coming in fall

By JORDAN BECK

Escanaba Daily Press

ESCANABA — People traveling on a 124-mile-long section of U.S. 2 in Delta, Schoolcraft and Mackinac counties have been able to take advantage of a recent speed limit increase. According to Dan Weingarten, Michigan Department of Transportation communications representative for the Superior Region, the maximum speed limit on U.S. 2 from Rapid River to St. Ignace was officially raised to 65 mph on June 28.

In late 2016, legislation was passed in Michigan’s House and Senate to increase speed limits on some state highways and freeways in Michigan before Jan. 5, 2018. As part of this legislation, maximum speed limits on some Michigan freeways will be raised to 75 mph and maximum speed limits on some non-freeway roads in the state will be raised to 65 mph.

The highways and freeways affected by this legislation were chosen by analyzing both the results of engineering and safety studies and these roads’ 85th percentile speeds.

“That’s the speed at or below which 85 percent of the drivers are traveling,” Weingarten said.

According to Weingarten, the process of changing speed limits is rather in-depth. Before speed limits can be officially increased, some “no passing” signs may have to be moved, some pavement markings may have to be moved to reflect the changes made to “no passing” signs, and some advisory speed signs may have to be moved and/or changed.

“It’s not … as easy as slapping up a bunch of signs,” Weingarten said.

MDOT worked with the Michigan State Police (MSP) on the initiative. Sgt. Joseph Racicot of the MSP Gladstone Post said he has not seen any new issues arise locally as a result of this speed limit increase.

“We’ve not noticed any problems develop,” he said.

While some people have been driving above the new speed limit, officers will be less tolerant of speeding on this route than they were before the speed limit was changed.

“(Drivers are) finding out rather quickly that this is not acceptable,” Racicot said.

Weingarten said there are still sections of the route where motorists will have to drive below 65 mph, as well.

“Where there were communities with reduced speed limits, those stayed in place,” Weingarten said. This is consistent with the legislation as it was approved last year.

The Upper Peninsula’s first speed limit increase made as a result of this legislation affected I-75 from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie. This change, which raised the maximum speed limit on this route to 75 mph, went into effect on May 1.

“We’ve been working since then … to change the speed limits on the other identified segments in the Upper Peninsula,” Weingarten said.

Weingarten said that, for the most part, MDOT’s speed limit-related efforts have been progressing from east to west in the U.P.

“Now that U.S. 2 is done, we’ll be turning our attention to other routes in the eastern Upper Peninsula,” he said.

Routes in the eastern U.P. where speed limits will be increased include M-28 from I-75 to east of Munising, M-28 from west of Munising to east of Marquette, and sections of M-77 and M-123. This will also be the case for M-28 from Covington to Wakefield, U.S. 2 from west of Iron River to Wakefield, and sections of U.S. 45 and M-64 in the western U.P.

MDOT is hoping to complete work on these routes late this fall.

“Our goal is to have all of these routes upgraded by November,” Weingarten said.

Weingarten also reminded motorists that these speed limits will not change until the speed limit signs on these routes have been adjusted.

“The speed limit is what’s posted,” he said.

For more information, including a map of speed limit increases in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/speedlimits.