I-44 Speeding Up

Texoma residents can now put the pedal to the metal on I-44. The speed limit has been increased to 75 miles per hour from the Red River to the Airport Drive in Wichita Falls.

Texas Department of Transportation Assistant Public Information Officer Ben Coker said, "After a series of traffic studies and speed studies it was determined that this section of I-44 near the 287 interchange, all the way to red river would be 75 mph".

The change was approved by the Texas legislature last September but did not take effect until new signs were posted. The new law makes all roads currently posted at 70 miles per hour eligible for the 5 mph increase.

Coker said the change was approved because most people going through the area were already going faster than 70. "They do traffic studies and determine how fast everyone's going and whatever that number is at the 85th percentile that's the number they determine to set the speed limit."

The eleven mile stretch of road between Wichita Falls and the Oklahoma border is the first in the area to be marked at 75 mph. Signs went up Thursday near airport drive just north of Burkburnett.

"Over the next few weeks they'll install a new 75 mph sign at the end of the entrance ramp of Missile Road for northbound traffic and then for southbound there'll be one at Daniel's Road in Burkburnett."

Texoma residents we spoke with had mixed feelings about the increase. One resident said, "I think its great. Personally when I drive I usually drive 75 anyway's."  Another said, if it helps get to the casino faster, he's all for it.

Others were worried that now people breaking the speed limit will be going even faster than 75.

One Texoman said, "It's kind of a known, you can go 9-10 miles over the speed limit and the cops ain't gonna fool with you too much. So now they're hitting 85-90. Wrecks will be a lot more severe, I don't think it's a good idea at all."

Another resident said he's sure people will still drive over the speed limit, but added 75 is where the limit should be.

Coker told Newschannel 6 the speed limit could be increased on 287, 277 and 281.  But the studies on those traffic patterns are still being done.

Jack Lamson, Newschannel 6