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Author Topic: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?  (Read 1201 times)

fwydriver405

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2020, 03:09:29 PM »

IIRC, it's the only 60 MPH zone in all of New England, NY, NJ, PA, and DE.   I haven't seen another 60 MPH zone northeast of Maryland (I-795, and a stretch of I-83 just north of the Beltway, have a 60 MPH limit). 

When MaineDOT raised speed limits statewide around 2014, a variety of 55 mph zones on freeways went up to 60, including I-195, the Scarborough Connector, I-95 through Portland (though I think it's lower through the current widening project work zone), the Falmouth Spur, US 1 between Brunswick and Bath, and I-395 in Bangor. So that's one more New England state that posts 60.

I-95 thru Bangor from exit 182 to 185 also has a 60 mph (100 km/h) limit as well.

Three questions I've had is about speed zones in New England for a while now is:
1. I wonder if MA (and more NH) will start approving and posting 70 mph (110 km/h) zones on some freeways, like some portions of the Mass Pike west of 128, or I-95 north of exit 46...
2. Why are 60 mph (100 km/h) speed limits so rare around New England? For example, there are some freeways in NH, like I-93 from 101 to the 293 split that are posted 55 mph (90 km/h), but the flow of traffic is usually around 70-75 mph (110-120 km/h)...
3. Is it true that the New Hampshire Turnpike (I-95) used to have a posted speed limit of 70 mph (110 km/h) before the NSML took in effect?
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2020, 07:00:29 AM »

Three questions I've had is about speed zones in New England for a while now is:
1. I wonder if MA (and more NH) will start approving and posting 70 mph (110 km/h) zones on some freeways, like some portions of the Mass Pike west of 128, or I-95 north of exit 46...

Unlikely. There have been efforts to raise additional speed limits in NH, but they never make it anywhere. The 70 zones on I-93 are specifically written into law, so the legislature would need to act to raise any more. You might see an increase on 89 at some point, but I can't imagine anywhere else.

MA has zero interest in raising any speed limits.

Quote
2. Why are 60 mph (100 km/h) speed limits so rare around New England? For example, there are some freeways in NH, like I-93 from 101 to the 293 split that are posted 55 mph (90 km/h), but the flow of traffic is usually around 70-75 mph (110-120 km/h)...

Post-NMSL political inertia mostly. 20 years was long enough for 55 to become the default. You may recall most New England states were reluctant to even return to 65 post-NMSL. The political climate up here is different from out west or down south, and there's just not much support for it.

To address your specific example though, the 93-101 multiplex is just over a mile long, and through traffic on 101 must move over 3 lanes (from left entrance to right exit) in that space. Sure, people speed through there, but I wouldn't be a in a hurry to raise that limit. It's 65 on either side of that stretch (or at least will be again when the construction wraps up), but left entrances with a high volume of weaving traffic are pretty good justification for a lower speed limit.
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vdeane

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2020, 01:43:43 PM »

Three questions I've had is about speed zones in New England for a while now is:
1. I wonder if MA (and more NH) will start approving and posting 70 mph (110 km/h) zones on some freeways, like some portions of the Mass Pike west of 128, or I-95 north of exit 46...

Unlikely. There have been efforts to raise additional speed limits in NH, but they never make it anywhere. The 70 zones on I-93 are specifically written into law, so the legislature would need to act to raise any more. You might see an increase on 89 at some point, but I can't imagine anywhere else.

MA has zero interest in raising any speed limits.
The last effort I heard about to expand 70 in NH includied I-89 and NH 101.

It's unfortunate that there aren't more efforts to raise the limit in New England.  I can think of several places in MA alone that could use 70.  I wish Michigan's speed limit policies were nation-wide.
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sprjus4

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2020, 06:40:40 PM »

I wish Michigan's speed limit policies were nation-wide.
Better yet, Texas. No discrimination between functional class (2-lane, 4-lane, freeway, interstate, etc), just a default 70 mph speed limit with lower limits only posted where determined necessary by a traffic engineering study, many 2 lanes and most 4 lane divided highways, freeways, and interstates usually posted at 75 mph.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 06:42:54 PM by sprjus4 »
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2020, 08:10:43 AM »

I think more 70 zones in New England would be nice, but what would be a much higher priority for me would be higher limits off the 4-lane freeways.

NH in particular builds a lot of very high quality two-lane roads with full shoulders, rumble strips, access control, etc. but only posts them at 50 or 55 mph, and only on >1 mile stretches between signals (through which the limit drops to 40 max). These roads are perfectly comfortable at 60+, and usually driven at such.

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

We don't need to go full Texas and post 2-lane roads at 75, but we can do better than 50.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2020, 10:21:06 AM »

I think more 70 zones in New England would be nice, but what would be a much higher priority for me would be higher limits off the 4-lane freeways.

NH in particular builds a lot of very high quality two-lane roads with full shoulders, rumble strips, access control, etc. but only posts them at 50 or 55 mph, and only on >1 mile stretches between signals (through which the limit drops to 40 max). These roads are perfectly comfortable at 60+, and usually driven at such.

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

We don't need to go full Texas and post 2-lane roads at 75, but we can do better than 50.
New England is quite timid with two lane road speed limits.
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SectorZ

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2020, 08:13:30 AM »

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

The stretches of 111 and 101 you linked, I swear I've never even hit the speed limit on those roads if any traffic is around. Raising the limit may be pointless due to timid New England drivers. 111 is not helped by having way too many traffic signals for a road that was supposed to be a faster bypass of an old alignment.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2020, 11:52:27 AM »

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

The stretches of 111 and 101 you linked, I swear I've never even hit the speed limit on those roads if any traffic is around. Raising the limit may be pointless due to timid New England drivers. 111 is not helped by having way too many traffic signals for a road that was supposed to be a faster bypass of an old alignment.
NE drivers are timid? Not on the freeways!
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froggie

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2020, 12:48:31 PM »

^ You need to get outside of Boston more...
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SectorZ

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2020, 12:51:46 PM »

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

The stretches of 111 and 101 you linked, I swear I've never even hit the speed limit on those roads if any traffic is around. Raising the limit may be pointless due to timid New England drivers. 111 is not helped by having way too many traffic signals for a road that was supposed to be a faster bypass of an old alignment.
NE drivers are timid? Not on the freeways!

You'd be surprised. These roads are clogged with traffic at times, and it only takes one person to mess it all up.
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webny99

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2020, 06:20:52 PM »

NE drivers are timid? Not on the freeways!
^ You need to get outside of Boston more...

Of course, probably 95% of the country fits somewhere between Boston and Vermont on this spectrum.  :-D
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Any reason why MA 3 has a speed limit of 60 not 65?
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2020, 08:37:22 AM »

This road being posted 50, and these roads (both of which are freeways!) being posted 55 are much more egregious to me than I-89 or NH 101 only being posted 65. Compare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, two other places that build lots of high quality 2-lanes, where the speed limit would be 100 km/h (or 62 mph). Or compare to New York, where many much lower quality rural roads with no shoulders and poor sight lines are posted 55.

The stretches of 111 and 101 you linked, I swear I've never even hit the speed limit on those roads if any traffic is around. Raising the limit may be pointless due to timid New England drivers. 111 is not helped by having way too many traffic signals for a road that was supposed to be a faster bypass of an old alignment.

I live right off 111 and thus drive it daily. There are certainly a surprising number of people who for some reason never get above 40, but if you get lucky you can pass them. Outside of a few problem areas, there are parts of 111 that really move. On my commute to/from Boston, there are days I hit higher speeds on 111 than anywhere on 93. During rush hour the signals on the 2-lane portion in Windham (where the limit is only 40) back up significantly, as do the signals around Hampstead (particularly 121 and Island Pond/Haverhill), but the stretch I linked to, east of Hampstead heading toward the Kingston bypass, has a 3+ mile stretch with no signals that is a lot less busy. Same goes for west of Windham center, with some 2 mile gaps between signals.

The AADT on 111 around the Hudson/Windham line is north of 15,000, and definitely warrants widening (either full 4-lane or add alternating passing lanes), but even pre-COVID I'd say the vast majority of the time you can easily drive >50 on it. It's a silly idea to suggest speed limits on roads must reflect rush hour traffic conditions.

It's a bit of a tangent, but I do find it a bit depressing that NHDOT doesn't seem to have any desire to make 111 into any sort of efficient through route. Take 93 exit 3 for example: entirely new interchange with both roads on new alignments, and they made it a traditional diamond, despite high left turning volumes. Or just east of there, the pointless 111A bypass, which added another new signal only 500 ft from the existing one. Or the new alignment west of 93 - 4 lane divided, full access control, posted limit 40. Traffic seems to flow at 50-55.
So many wasted opportunities.
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