BEND, OR -- As of March first, speed limits on many Central Oregon highways will increase. House Bill 3402 raised speed limits from 55 to 65-miles per hour on rural highways, including portions of highways 20, 97, 197 and 31.
Oregon Department of Transportation’s Peter Murphy says the increased speed also brings reduced passing lanes in some areas. “So what we’ve had to do is go down the highway and measure the places where there’s insufficient room to accommodate two motorists going 65-miles-an-hour and we’ve closed up some of the passing zones because we simply want people to be safe and not take unnecessary risks.” New signs and pavement markings will identify the no-passing zones.
Murphy tells KBND News drivers also need to use more caution. “You simply have to measure what’s going on with the highway, what’s going on in your car, and be conscious of the fact that you’re now moving at an exponentially faster rate, you’re taking this mass of metal and moving it down the highway with a significant difference in the impact of a collision.”
Speed limits on I-84, between The Dalles and the Idaho border, will go up to 70 MPH; 65 for trucks. On secondary roads, the truck speed is increasing to 60 MPH.