July 26, 2005
Listen up motorists, the traffic along U.S. Route 29 is about to get a little faster, and it has nothing to do with construction.
Just the thought of driving 55 miles per hour on U.S. 29 around the Charlottesville region drives people crazy.
"I think it's a little bit too slow, especially for the kind of highway it is," said J.V. Nable, a frequent driver on U.S. 29.
Apparently, many drivers agree, and so does the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT is raising the speed limit along some portions of U.S. 29 to 60 miles per hour.
"It'll really help me out with my finances with speeding tickets," said Stephanie Chester, a frequent driver on U.S. 29.
Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly mandated the speed limit, under passed legislation. Following traffic studies by VDOT, the law directed speed limits to be raised in Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Culpeper, and Fauquier counties.
"I'm very excited because I've gotten a couple of speeding tickets," added Chester.
The studies found three sections of U.S. 29 meeting the requirements for a higher speed limit. In Albemarle County, a 15 mile stretch near the Albemarle/Nelson county line to Route 178. In Madison and Green counties, an 8 miles strip near Ruckersville up to Shelby. For Madison and Fauquier counties, it's a 32 mile drag, from Madison to Opal.
Drivers know they're happy, but what about the police who patrol the highways.
"I think it's going to be a good thing for motorists. It will give them a little flexibility, and maybe that will actually help stop some of the speeders," said Sergeant Pamela Greenwood, or the Albemarle County Police Department.
With the speed limit along U.S. Route 29 set to increase from 55 to 60 miles per hour, police want motorists to expect a change in their traffic flow, but they also want those motorists to know that this isn't a pass to speed.
"I hope not. I hope it's seen more in a positive way, like okay, they raised it to 60, so let's not push it more than that," added Sgt. Greenwood.
VDOT crews will begin placing 60 mph signs on the mentioned sections tomorrow. The new speed limits are expected to posted on all section by Friday afternoon when the limits take effect July 29th.