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I-17 is often crowded and challenging to drive. ADOT is considering raising the speed limit.

A new law will require any interstate highway to have a posted speed limit at or above 65 mph.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is taking another look at how fast people should be driving on a critical stretch of Interstate 17.

The current speed limit is 55 mph on I-17 between the I-10 split and Peoria Avenue. 

A new law could raise it by at least 10 mph before the end of the year.

“It is a busy stretch of freeway, certainly during the rush hours it is very busy," ADOT spokesperson Doug Nintzel said.

The new law, SB 1102, is set to take effect in late October. It requires a speed limit of at least 65 mph on any interstate highway in counties with more than three million people, such as Maricopa County.

“This stretch has been at 55 mph for some time. So, we don’t think there’s any harm in taking a look at whether an adjustment to the speed limit would be warranted," Nintzel said.

There are exceptions if certain measures are met, including if a lower speed limit is deemed necessary based on an independent study, the overall system capacity and mobility along the freeway will not be reduced, and an opportunity for public input is provided.

Nintzel said those steps are happening right now.

“We’ll take a look at things such as crash history, say curves along the freeway, things that could come into play in terms of things that would help us determine what is really the practical speed to set along this stretch of I-17," Nintzel said.

ADOT also wants to know what Arizona drivers think. They're conducting a survey where people can share what speed they're most comfortable with.

Drivers who travel on I-17 daily told 12News they're in favor of raising the speed limit.

“I think they should change it," Michael Kinnett said. "Drivers are already going 65 mph."

They said they'd feel just as safe, if not safer with it raised.

“People here just like to go fast," Jacqueline Bilbao said. "I feel like there’s not going to be much of a difference.”

 Regardless of the posted speed limit, ADOT said drivers need to be safe on the road.

"We still want drivers to do the right thing. You know, you can set a speed limit, but it still comes down to drivers driving at the appropriate speed," Nintzel said.

Nintzel said the independent speed study is expected to be completed by mid-October.

The survey can be found here online, or by emailing projects@azdot.gov, or by calling (855) 712-8530. 

Comments can also be mailed to I-17 Speed Limit Study, ADOT Community Relations, 1655 W. Jackson St., MD 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

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