Signs are being manufactured and crews could be out on rural two-lane highways before the end of the month posting 70 mph speed limit signs.
Gov. Matt Mead signed into law last week a bill raising the statutory speed limit to 70 mph for non-interstate highways in Wyoming.
WYDOT expects to have about 1,500 miles of highways raised to the 70 mph limit by the end of April, and another 1,000 miles by the end of May, with work continuing through the summer.
Until the new signs are up, the existing posted speed limit remains in effect.
“Drivers are required to adhere to the speed limit posted on any highway section,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Col. Kebin Haller said.
Areas exempted from the new statutory limit include school zones, roads in urban or residential areas and anywhere special hazards exist.
State Traffic Engineer Joel Meena said 900 new speed limit signs will be needed for all the highway miles to be moved to the higher limit. Materials for the signs were ordered in early March, and fabrication of the signs is expected to be done by the end of the month.
Moving to the higher limit requires not only new speed limit signs, but some areas may require additional curve warning signs and changes in pavement markings for passing and no-passing zones.
Sections of US 85 between Cheyenne and Newcastle, US 130 from Walcott Junction to Saratoga, and WYO 120 from 18 miles north of Cody to the Montana border have already been raised to the 70 mph limit.
The 70 mph sections will be monitored to determine how the increase affects safety.
“We’ll look at the roads and driving behaviors to ensure there is no significant increase in crashes,” WYDOT Director Bill Panos said. “If we find there has been a significant increase, we will take the actions necessary to protect the safety of the driving public.”