I-664 speed to rise

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Speed limits on some sections of interstate around the area are going up beginning Thursday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is increasing speed limits from 55 miles per hour to 60 mph along three sections of roadway on interstates 664 and 64.

In Suffolk, the section of Interstate 664 in Suffolk will change speed limits. Other areas are the sections of Interstate 64 between Hampton Roads Center Parkway to the Hampton Coliseum on the Peninsula and from the Bowers Hill area to the Virginia Beach/Chesapeake city line.

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The decision to increase the speed limit was based on a traffic engineering study of the interstates, according to a news release from VDOT. The studies examined traffic patterns, speeds, traffic volume, crash history, entrance and exit points, roadway characteristics and other factors.

The increase also creates a consistent speed limit along Interstate 664. Portions of that roadway were already at 60 miles per hour.

“The goal of the speed limit increase is to keep traffic moving in each lane at relatively similar speeds,” said Mike Corwin, VDOT Hampton Roads regional traffic engineer. Traveling at similar speeds reduces the need for lane changes and the likelihood of accidents, he said.

Studies have shown that large variations in speed may lead to accidents as faster traffic slows down or changes lanes to avoid slower drivers ahead, the press release said. As the alternate route from the Peninsula to the Southside, the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel route will now have a higher speed limit than the conventional route through the I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and thereby help facilitate traffic flow during peak travel times.

Motorists are advised to be alert to the new speed limit and obey all traffic laws. Virginia State Police will begin enforcing the new speed limit as soon as new signs are posted.

The section of Interstate 664 is scheduled to be changed on March 5 and 6, according to the release.