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Turnpike Authority Raises Speed Limits to 80MPH on Some Toll Roads

A lot of drivers on some Oklahoma toll roads may be going closer to the speed limit soon.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on Tuesday approved raising the speed limit on some stretches of toll road to 80 mph. One of those is 13 miles of the Turner Turnpike between Sapulpa and Bristow, where OTA recently finished construction on an expansion to six lanes. OTA Executive Director and State Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said the speed limit increases were recommended only after a thorough study of each area.

"The emphasis that I would make is that our engineers have taken a very, very close look at these locations. Speed and safety is a function of the engineering and design of the system," Gatz said.

The speed reviews were triggered by legislation passed last year. Other turnpikes where drivers will eventually see posted speed limits go up to 80 mph include the Muskogee Turnpike from Broken Arrow to Muskogee and the Indian Nation Turnpike from I-40 to Highway 9.

Gatz said enforcement will be an important part of the roll out.

"We’ve worked very closely with the department of public safety and the highway patrol to make sure that we are in lockstep with them on what conditions are going to be required for the future," Gatz said.

Gatz noted 80 mph is the top speed for ideal conditions and drivers should slow down if weather is less than perfect.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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