(April 4, 2016) – Those traveling in Central and Western Maryland will soon enjoy a little less time spent driving as the speed limit on Interstate 70 increases to 70 mph today. The change is the result of a new law that went into effect last year that allows the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) to raise interstate highway speed limits up to 70 mph. The new speed limit is effective today, April 4 and signage will notify drivers of the change.

SHA is raising the limit on I-70 on the approximately 31-mile segment from US 29 in Howard County to MD 144 in Frederick County and the 45 miles from MD 180 in Frederick County to the Washington County/Pennsylvania line. Meanwhile, two other portions of I-70 will remain posted at 65 mph: the beginning of I-70 at I-695 to US 29 in Howard County and MD 144 to MD 180 in Frederick County. Following the 2015 legislative session, Governor Larry Hogan signed the new maximum speed limit law which took effect October 1, 2015.

SHA raised the speed limit on Interstate 68 to 70 mph last fall following a safety review. Since then, SHA analyzed other highways with a 65 mph limit to determine if increasing to 70 mph would be appropriate. Traffic engineers consider crash data, roadway design and driver behavior as some of the factors when setting speed limits.

SHA determined that long segments of I-70, excluding more urban areas such as the City of Frederick, as suitable for the higher speed limit.

“On every highway, drivers should pay close attention to the roadway and obey speed limits. Law enforcement partners monitor traffic to enforce regulations and speed limits to keep travelers safe,” said State Highway Administrator Gregory C. Johnson, P.E. “By letting drivers go a little bit faster on I-70 SHA expects to see more consistent travel speeds for vehicles, keeping I-70 conditions safe for the thousands who travel the route each day.”