Michigan Speed Limit Increases:
Increased Speed Limit Legislation
Michigan lawmakers have enacted legislation that allows for motorists to increase their speed on many of the state’s roadways. Public Act 445, passed in late 2016, charged the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police (MSP) with increasing speed limits on certain state roadways based on 85th percentile speeds (the speed at or below which 85% of traffic is moving) and results of various traffic and safety studies. The act has amended Section 257.627 of the Michigan Vehicle Code and required the modified speed limits to be put in place prior to January 5, 2018.
Roadways Identified for Increased Speed Limits
Nearly 1,500 miles of Michigan’s roadways will see a speed limit increase starting May 1, 2017: 900 miles will see an increase to 65 miles per hour and 600 miles will see an increase to 75 miles per hour. As a result, new advisory speed and curve warning signs, shorten passing zones, and change pavement markings will be installed.
According to MDOT and MSP, the following freeways and limited-access freeways are expected to increase from 70 to 75 miles per hour speed limits in accordance with the new state law:
- I-75 – Bay City to US-23 in Mackinaw City (Bay, Arenac, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Crawford, Otsego, Cheboygan, and Emmet counties), and St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie (Mackinac and Chippewa counties)
- US-127 – I-69 to the end of the freeway at St. Johns (Clinton County), and the beginning of the freeway at Ithaca to I-75 (Gratiot, Isabella, Clare, Roscommon, and Crawford counties)
- US-131 – M-57 to the end of the freeway north of Manton (Kent, Montcalm, Mecosta, Osceola, and Wexford counties)
- I-69 – I-69 Business Route (Saginaw Highway) to Swartz Creek (Clinton, Shiawassee, and Genesee counties)
- I-69 – From the Genesee/Lapeer county line to I-94 (Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties)
- US-10 – M-115 to I-75 (Clare, Isabella, Midland, and Bay counties)
- US-31 – South Oceana County line to US-10 (Oceana and Mason counties)
According to MDOT and MSP, the following non-freeways are expected to increase to 65 miles per hour speed limits in accordance with the new state law:
- US-2 – Wakefield to Iron River (Gogebic and Iron counties)
- US-2 – St. Ignace to Rapid River (Mackinac, Schoolcraft, and Delta counties)
- US-23 – East of Cheboygan to east of M-65 (Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties)
- US-45 – North of US-2 to M-26 (Gogebic and Ontonagon counties)
- M-28 – East of Harvey to Christmas (Marquette and Alger counties)
- M-28 – Munising to I-75 (Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, and Chippewa counties)
- M-28 – Wakefield to US-41 (Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, and Baraga counties)
- M-32 – Atlanta to Alpena (Montmorency and Alpena counties)
- M-33 – Atlanta to Onaway (Montmorency and Presque Isle counties)
- M-37 – Mesick to Wolf Lake (Wexford and Lake counties)
- M-55 – US-31 to Cadillac West (Manistee and Wexford counties)
- M-64 – M-28 to Old M-107 (Ontonagon County)
- M-65 – US-23 to M-32 west junction (Arenac, Iosco, Alcona, and Alpena counties)
- M-65 – M-32 east junction to US-23 (Alpena and Presque Isle counties)
- M-68 – I-75 to US-23 (Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties)
- M-72 – Grayling to Mio (Crawford and Oscoda counties)
- M-72 – Fairview to M-65 north junction (Oscoda and Alcona counties)
- M-72 – M-65 south junction to Harrisville (Alcona County)
- M-77 – US-2 to M-28 (Schoolcraft County)
- M-115 – Benzonia to Mesick (Benzie and Wexford counties)
- M-123 – I-75 to Paradise (Mackinac and Chippewa counties)
- M-231 – M-45 to M-104 (Ottawa County)
Michigan Speed Limit Increases: Increased Speed Limits for Commercial Trucks and School Buses
Increased speed limits for trucks and buses was another change prompted by Public Act 445.
The speed limit for trucks on freeways where the speed limit for other vehicles is 70 miles per hour will be increased from 55 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour. Highways with speed limits between 55 miles per hour and 65 miles per hour will remain at 55 miles per hour for trucks (MCL 257.627(6)). The speed limit for school buses will be increased from 50 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour on highways with a speed limit between 55 miles per hour and 65 miles per hour and 60 miles per hour on freeways with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour (MCL 257.627(6) and (7)).
Why Increased Speed Limits?
According to State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle, “the corridors identified by MDOT and MSP were selected not only because studies indicated most drivers were already driving at those increased speeds, but also because their design and safety features were best suited to these speed limits. We reviewed design speeds, crash patterns, number of access points, traffic volumes and continuity of these corridors, and chose them to minimize necessary improvements for higher speed limits.”
MDOT and MSP are currently finalizing traffic control orders to implement increased speed limits on remaining roadways. New speed limits will be posted on all of the selected freeway and non-freeway corridors prior to November. With these changes, Michigan will have the highest speed limits of any Great Lakes state.