VA: 35 mph speed limit on all unpaved roads

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VA: 35 mph speed limit on all unpaved roads

Postby Unity » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:36 pm

Alerted by a FB post from a cousin in Botetourt County, I'm finding a few reports from local news outlets that effective July 1, 2014, the speed limit on all unpaved roads in Virginia will be 35 mph, unless otherwise posted.

The speed limit on unpaved roads has been 55 mph in all but 11 counties — Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Montgomery, Nelson, Page, Rappahannock, Warren and Wythe. Riding the old speed limit could result in a 20-over speeding ticket, and remember, in Virginia, 20 mph over the limit is treated as reckless driving.

South Boston News & Record and Mecklenburg Sun wrote:Lower speeds kick in on unpaved country roads

SoVaNow.com / May 14, 2014

Back road drivers beware: beginning July 1, the speed limit on all gravel roads in Mecklenburg County will drop to 35 miles per hour.

The change isn’t restricted to the county; the new speed limit goes into effect for all unsurfaced (dirt and gravel) roads in Virginia.

Until now, the law in Mecklenburg and most counties in Southside Virginia fixed the speed limit on gravel or “nonsurface-treated roads” at 55 mph, unless otherwise posted.

All that has changed with passage of House Bill 854, introduced in January by Del. Scott Garrett of Lynchburg. The new law imposes a 35 mph speed limit on dirt roads, unless exceptions are allowed for roads that the Commissioner of Highways or VDOT deems safe at higher speeds, according to Garrett’s testimony before a House transportation subcommittee.

However, VDOT must install signs posting the higher speed limit before 55 mph travel is allowed.

It has no money in the budget to do so.

By the same token, VDOT won’t post new 35 mph speed limit signs on dirt and gravel roads to inform motorists of the law’s change. There’s no money in the budget for that, either.

Instead, VDOT is hoping the news media will help to educate the public about the new speed limit, said Tommy Johnson of the South Hill residency office.

In introducing the bill, Garrett said it would help clear up the patchwork of speed limits on state’s 9,000 unpaved miles of roadway. Prior to the change, only 11 counties in the state — Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Montgomery, Nelson, Page, Rappahannock, Warren and Wythe — set the speed limit for dirt or gravel roads at 35 miles per hour.

The bill received little publicity as it traveled through the General Assembly, and Johnson said he was surprised to learn of its passage. state Sen. Frank Ruff was one of 14 members of the Senate who voted against it. All 99 members of the House approved the bill in a block vote.

--John
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