The state Transportation Commission has previously mentioned the possibility of temporarily rolling back the new 80-mile-per-hour speed limit on Interstate 90 around Sturgis. Now Bob Mercer reports that, baed on citizen feedback and safety concerns, the Transportation Commission may permanently reduce the speed limit on I-90 between Rapid City and the Wyoming border to 75 miles per hour:
State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said his department has been receiving messages from people about the 80 mph limit.
Generally, changes in speed zones draw little public comment or none at all.
“I guarantee there will be public testimony on that next month,” Bergquist said.
Several commission members said they’re hearing from citizens about the change to 80 mph. One commissioner, Ed Seljeskog of Rapid City, favors rolling back to 75 mph west of Rapid City.
He referred to “the recent calamity” in Wyoming on Interstate 80 that saw two days of major pile-ups, including some trucks afire.
“I’m really uneasy,” Seljeskog said [Bob Mercer, “State Transportation Commission: Some of Interstate 90 Might Return to 75 MPH,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.04.24].
O.K., the Wyoming “calamity” involved fog, slush, and 22,000 gallons of flammable material.
But slush or no, I can see the logic of lowering sped limit on the Black Hills arc of I-90. Unlike all points east, those 55 miles of I-90 have real curves and a higher concentration of busy town exits. Driving that road requires some actual thinking.
Besides, when Rep. Brian Gosch (R-32/Rapid City) snuck the 80-mph speed limit into the big road tax bill without prior notice, research, or public testimony last month, he was thinking of getting from Rapid to Pierre and back faster, not whooshing off to Wyoming. He won’t care if the folks to his north and west have to slow down. The smart District 31 contingent will just zip through Sturgis and race to Pierre unmonitored on Highway 34.
The Transportation Commission will hold a public hearing on this speed limit change and others on May 28 in Pierre.