BEND, OR -- Drivers on Highway 97 outside of incorporated cities are seeing new speed signs, as speed limits increase to 65-miles-per hour as a result of legislation signed by the governor earlier this month.
The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Peter Murphy says even though you can drive faster, it might not always be the best choice. “People just need to be aware that now the responsibility is even more on the driver to be aware of what’s going on in the environment in which they’re driving.”
And, Murphy tells KBND News the higher speeds mean the elimination of some passing lanes. “You won’t find as many of those dotted yellow lines on the highway. What we’ve done is we’ve closed them, so now it’s solid where you can’t pass. The reason is that you’re both coming together at 65-miles an hour, there’s not enough room where there used to be enough room at 55.”
Speed limits are now up to 65 MPH for several Central and Eastern Oregon highways, including portions of Highways 20, 97, 197 and 31. The speed limit on Interstate 84 between The Dalles and the Idaho border is up to 70 MPH; 65 for trucks. On secondary roads, the truck speed is increasing to 60-miles an hour.