Speed limits to go up on U.S. 59, other area highways

Traffic will officially be moving a little faster on several area highways by the end of the year, as the result of a study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDOT District 8, which includes 12 counties in southwestern Minnesota, announced Wednesday that the speed limit on parts of nearly a dozen highways will be increasing from 55 to 60 miles per hour.

The speed limit changes will be put in place by the end of 2018, MnDOT said. The changes will go into effect when the new speed limit signs are posted. Affected highways include U.S. Highway 14 from the South Dakota border to Sanborn, Minnesota Highway 19 from the South Dakota border to Fairfax, and U.S. Highway 59 from Marshall to Clarkfield.

The speed limit increases came about after a speed study mandated by the Minnesota Legislature in 2014, said Sandra Schlagel, public affairs coordinator for MnDOT District 8. The Legislature called for MnDOT to study speed limits on all two-lane state highways, and make recommendations for possible speed limit increases. MnDOT District 8 has finished that study for its rural two-lane highways.

Schlagel said the speed limit increases were the result of a long process. One factor was the sheer amount of roadway being studied.

“There were a lot of miles to cover,” she said. The District 8 study also considered many different factors including crash data, average speeds on area highways, existing traffic controls, highway access points, and more.

The full list of state highways which will go up to a 60 mile-per-hour speed limit in District 8 includes:

• Minnesota Highway 4 from Hector to Highway 55

• Minnesota Highway 9 from CSAH 33 (north of New London) to Highway 104 (west of Sunburg)

• U.S. Highway 14 from the South Dakota border to Highway 71

• Minnesota Highway 15 from Winthrop to the north Meeker County line

• Minnesota Highway 19 from the South Dakota border to Fairfax

• Minnesota Highway 30 from the South Dakota border to Slayton and from U.S. Highway 59 to Westbrook

• Minnesota Highway 40 from Highway 119 to Willmar

• U.S. Highway 59 from Marshall to Clarkfield

• Minnesota Highway 119 from U.S. Highway 212 to Highway 40

• Minnesota Highway 267 from Iona to Highway 30 (west of Slayton)

• Minnesota Highway 271 from Highway 19 to the South Dakota border

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