ITD changing Hwy. 20 speed limit this week

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK/KXPI) – The speed limit along U.S. Highway 20 between, Idaho Falls and Ashton will increase this week.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) plans to raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph.

“We live off of Highway 20 and I think 65 is fast enough,” driver Gayle Heuer said. “There’s so many roads that come in and out. It’s just hard for traffic to be going that fast and having to cross lanes and to get off the highway.”

After a traffic study completed in February 2017, ITD found 85 percent of drivers already drive 70 miles per hour or below.

Blake Higley with Idaho State Police District 6 said this does not change enforcement.

“I think that there is a common misconception that we allow 5 mph over (the posted speed limit) and that’s not true. We just encourage motorists to obey the speed limits. Seventy is pretty fast on that two-lane highway,” Higley said.

Sgt. Higley said U.S. 20 is already a high-crash area and that drivers need to take that into consideration.

“With the higher speeds, potentially the impact for more serious crashes increases. Also, you have to look at following distances,” Sgt. Higley said.

Field desk attendant, Korey Kolbet, works at KJ Travel Center said she sees a lot of drivers come and go from the center. She says this will be beneficial to drivers, especially those who are coming in and out of town.

“I think it’s actually going to be really good. It’s really going to help with the flow of traffic through the summer time, all the way up to West Yellowstone. It really needs to be helped be increased for just between cars and trucks and travelers,” Kolbet said. “I tend to like it when there’s a lot more room to move.”

Heuer works at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and said she is worried about the speed increase.

“I just worry about the kids that aren’t paying attention. I work at the hospital and we see them come in so that worries me,” Heuer said.