Posted speed limits of 60 mph might be coming to an open road near you.
The General Assembly voted this year to increase the speed limit on several sections of state roads with multi-lanes and divided highways, where the speed limit currently is 55 mph.
Affected are parts of State Route 3 in Stafford and King George counties from the Ferry Farm area to Sealston; State Route 207 in Caroline County from the exit off Interstate 95 to Bowling Green; U.S. 17 in Stafford from the Fauquier County line to Poplar Road; and U.S. 301, where it runs through Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline to outside Port Royal and again in King George.
The change in the state code does not affect populated areas where the speed limit is 45 mph. Signs announcing the higher speed won’t go up until the Virginia Department of Transportation does the required safety and speed studies, said VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.
VDOT engineers will review the geometry and crash history of each road section to see if the speed limit can be posted at 60 mph, Hannon said. They’ll also examine each segment’s guardrails and warning signs.
And, VDOT will pick up the tab for the studies without asking anything from the affected counties. That part was music to the ears of the King George Board of Supervisors, which recently discussed the change.
“For the first time I’ve known, VDOT actually agreed to the cost” and isn’t asking the county to pay a part, said King George County Administrator Neiman Young.
King George Supervisor Ruby Brabo said she had checked with Sheriff Steve Dempsey, who saw no reason why the speed limit shouldn’t be raised. The George Washington Regional Commission and the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization studied the proposal, and the GWRC sent its approval to the General Assembly.
New laws usually are effective July 1, but that’s not the case with the higher speed limit. As sections are reviewed and approved for the new speed, signs should appear between September and December, Hannon said.