West Fargo lawmaker proposes an 80 mph speed limit on at least parts of I-29 and I-94 | Prairie Public Broadcasting

West Fargo lawmaker proposes an 80 mph speed limit on at least parts of I-29 and I-94

Jan 13, 2021

A West Fargo lawmaker believes some parts, at least, of the two Interstate highways serving North Dakota should have an 80-mile an hour speed limit.

Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo) said in other states with an 80 mph limit, their number of fatalities have actually dropped at a higher rate than North Dakota’s have dropped.

"I believe what we can take away from that is, cars are becoming safer, highways are patrolled better, and people are driving safer," Koppelman said. "That allows us to go up with the speed limit."

But Koppelman said his bill takes into account road design. He said there would be some money in the bill for added barricades between lanes, and a re-design of some of the curves and inclines.

Koppelman said he’s been working with Transportation Director Bill Panous.

"In his research, it appears a large chunk of I-29 could be 80 mph almost right away," Koppelman said. "For I-94, it's somewhere in that 20-25 percent that's in the green right now."

Koppelman said some of it -- in a "yellow" type zone -- could be ready with guardrails.

"I hope to have at least half of I-94 to be at 80 mph this biennium," Koppelman said.

The bill does not address other four-lane highways, such as US 2 or US 83.