Limit goes up on I-85

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 05:44 PM

Motorists driving through Granville County on Interstate 85 can now increase their speed by five miles per hour and still be legal.

The N.C. Department of Transportation recently raised the maximum speed on I-85 in from 65 to 70 miles per hour.
Vance and Durham counties, which border Granville on the northern and southern ends, respectively, are still set at 65 mph on I-85 at each county line.

Steve Abbott, communications officer for DOT, said changes in the speed limit may be the result of a request by a chamber of commerce, county commissioners or a citizen.

“We evaluate a road like the interstate for its crash history, average speed and traffic volume to decide if it’s safe to move up the speed limit,” he said.

As to who requested the change on I-85 in Granville County, he said, “I have no idea.”

Sometimes the DOT staff will determine the need to raise the speed limit based on data the department routinely collects. It might be raised, Abbott said, “if we’ve done work on it. If it’s been resurfaced.

“We have data on every accident,” Abbott said. “If there’s a high accident rate, we might decide not to raise the limit.”
The DOT also uses the database to plan construction projects.

“If there’s a lot of congestion, we might decide to widen the road,” Abbott said.

Data on the DOT website shows that in 2011 (the last year listed) the average daily traffic on I-85 in Granville County was more than 30,000 vehicles. That includes both north- and south-bound traffic.

The average daily count between exits 186 and 189, the section of I-85 adjacent to Durham County, was 34,000. In contrast, sections of I-85 in Durham County had daily traffic counts as high as 84,000.

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