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Archive for Thursday, February 29, 1996

SPEED LIMIT RISE PASSES

February 29, 1996

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Gov. Bill Graves said he will sign the legislation, which will raise speed limits to 75 mph on interstate highways and 65 mph on improved two-lane highways.

Topeka (ap) -- Kansans will have new speed limits effective at 12:01 a.m. March 22.

Those new limits will be 70 mph on interstate highways and 65 mph on improved two-lane highways.

The Legislature sent to Gov. Bill Graves late Wednesday a bill that increases the present maximum speeds of 65 mph on interstates and 55 on two-lane highways.

Not all two-lane highways will be posted with the new 65 mph speed. Department of Transportation Secretary Dean Carlson has authority under the bill to keep the speed limit at 55 on highways he considers unsafe at 65.

Graves said the bill, which he will sign into law Tuesday, will be published March 7 in the Kansas Register and become law March 22.

``I wish to commend lawmakers for their diligence and thoughtful deliberation on this issue,'' Graves said in a statement after the Legislature passed the measure.

The Senate approved the final compromise version, 29-11, and the House passed it, 81-43.

``The end result of their hard work are speed limits that make sense in Kansas,'' Graves said. ``I look forward to signing this bill into law.''

``I think it's fine,'' said Sen. Ben Vidricksen, R-Salina, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation and Utilities Committee. ``I like the idea that I'll be able to drive 65 on those improved two-lane highways.''

Most western Kansas lawmakers wanted faster speed limits than those approved.

Legislators representing Douglas County split in their support of the bill. Lawrence Democratic Reps. Barbara Ballard and Troy Findley, along with Reps. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, and Ralph Tanner, R-Baldwin, voted for the bill. Sens. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, and Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, and Rep. Joann Flower, R-Oskaloosa, voted against it.

Carlson said new speed limit signs on Interstates 35 and 70 and the interstate loops around Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita will be up within the next 15 days.

He said that it would take longer to post the two-lane highways, but he said he hoped it could be done by June.

He acknowledged there could be some confusion on what the speed limits are on some highways until the signs are in place. A person could be ticketed for going 61 mph on a highway that is posted at 55 but whose legal speed limit might be 65.

``That's how lawyers are going to make a living for the next two or three months,'' Carlson said.

Within limits

The speed limits on county highways would remain at 55 mph, but local boards of county commissions would have authority to raise them to 65.

The measure includes ``buffers'' of 10 mph on interstates and 5 mph on two-lane highways, including the county roads.

That means drivers who are ticketed exceeding the posted speed limit, but not beyond the buffer, would not have the violation go on their driving records, and insurance companies could not increase their premiums.

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