ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Motorists will soon be able to drive faster on several highways in Michigan, including a large portion of US-131 north of Grand Rapids.
The Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police announced on Wednesday the 600 miles of freeway that will increase to a 75 mph speed limit and 900 miles of other roads that will increase to 65 mph.
Starting May 1, MDOT will begin posting the new 75 mph speed limits on three freeways, including US-131 near the Greenville exit to north of Manton — a total of 95 miles.
MDOT also says I-75 in Bay City to US-23 in Mackinaw City and St. Ignance to Sault Ste. Marie will increase to 75 mph, as well as US-127 at I-69 to the end of the freeway at St. Johns and the beginning of the freeway at Ithaca to I-75.
Trucks and buses in the increased speed zones will be able to drive up to 65 mph.
In Ottawa County, a 7-mile stretch on M-231 from Lake Michigan Drive in Robinson Township to M-104 near Nunica will increase to 65 mph.
While drivers heading up north will see some time shaved off their drives, police have this bit of advice for people who think this means they can set the cruise control at 84 mph.
“You certainly can set it at 84 but you’re probably going to get stopped,” said Rockford Post Commander First Lt. Chris McIntire.
The national standard is setting the speed at what 85 percent drive anyway.
He said the increase in speed limits does not mean that people will drive less safely or that crashes will increase.
In fact, the dangers on the road come when drivers are driving different speeds.
He said the increases will come only on roads that the state controls such as interstates, trunk lines and “M” roads. City and county officials set the limits on most streets.
McIntire said it is not likely that we will see the speed limits increase any time in the future.
“The reality of it is that they have told us, those drivers, that they can drive a safe and prudent manner at 75 mph and get there alive, so we take that into account,” McIntire said.
MDOT says new speed limits will be posted on all of the selected highways and roads prior to mid-November.
The following is a list of roads that will be affected:
Limited-access freeways (75 mph):
- I-69 – I-69 Business Route (Saginaw Highway) to Swartz Creek (Clinton, Shiawassee, and Genesee counties)
- I-69 – From the GeneseeCounty/Lapeer County line to I-94 (Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties)
- US-10 – M-115 to I-75 (Clare, Isabella, Midland, and Bay counties)
- US-31 – South Oceana County line to US-10 (Oceana and Mason counties)
Non-freeways (65 mph):
- M-231 – M-45 to M-104 (Ottawa County)
- US-2 – Wakefield to Iron River (Gogebic and Iron counties)
- US-2 – St. Ignace to Rapid River (Mackinac, Schoolcraft, and Delta counties)
- US-23 – East of Cheboygan to east of M-65 (Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties)
- US-45 – North of US-2 to M-26 (Gogebic and Ontonagon counties)
- M-28 – East of Harvey to Christmas (Marquette and Alger counties)
- M-28 – Munising to I-75 (Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, and Chippewa counties)
- M-28 – Wakefield to US-41 (Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, and Baraga counties)
- M-32 – Atlanta to Alpena (Montmorency and Alpena counties)
- M-33 – Atlanta to Onaway (Montmorency and Presque Isle counties)
- M-37 – Mesick to Wolf Lake (Wexford and Lake counties)
- M-55 – US-31 to Cadillac West (Manistee and Wexford counties)
- M-64 – M-28 to Old M-107 (Ontonagon County)
- M-65 – US-23 to M-32 west junction (Arenac, Iosco, Alcona, and Alpena counties)
- M-65 – M-32 east junction to US-23 (Alpena and Presque Isle counties)
- M-68 – I-75 to US-23 (Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties)
- M-72 – Grayling to Mio (Crawford and Oscoda counties)
- M-72 – Fairview to M-65 north junction (Oscoda and Alcona counties)
- M-72 – M-65 south junction to Harrisville (Alcona County)
- M-77 – US-2 to M-28 (Schoolcraft County)
- M-115 – Benzonia to Mesick (Benzie and Wexford counties)
- M-123 – I-75 to Paradise (Mackinac and Chippewa counties)
In December, the legislature approved increasing the speed limits as long as a safety study showed it was safe and the new limits were no more than what 15 percent of traffic is exceeding.
“The corridors identified by MDOT and MSP were selected not only because studies indicated most drivers were already driving at those increased speeds, but also because their design and safety features were best suited to these speed limits,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We reviewed design speeds, crash patterns, number of access points, traffic volumes and continuity of these corridors, and chose them to minimize necessary improvements for higher speed limits.”