Nebraska lawmakers OK higher speed limits, but not on I-80

Published: Apr. 11, 2018 at 11:01 AM CDT
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A bill that would allow higher speed limits on Nebraska state highways has won final approval in the Legislature, but it won't apply to Interstate 80.

Lawmakers passed the measure on a 44-1 vote Wednesday. They previously stripped out language that would have allowed speeds of up to 80 mph on portions of the interstate.

The current proposal would give the Nebraska Department of Transportation the option of increasing the speed limit on certain highways. For example, the speed limit for four-lane highways could go from 60 to 65 mph. Other expressways and freeways could see their limits increase to 70 mph, up from 65 mph.

The Department of Transportation would set the limits. Sen. John Murante, of Gretna, the bill's sponsor, says it would streamline Nebraska's roadways.

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says calls this move dangerous. AAA says an increase in speed means an increase in stopping distance. The traffic safety director says that distance can be the difference between life and death.

Opponents voiced traffic safety concerns. The bill now goes to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has endorsed it.

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