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55 to 70 mph: New MoPac express lanes speed limits approved

Ever dreamed of driving faster on MoPac? That dream will soon become a reality.

AUSTIN, Texas — Drivers will soon be able to travel a little faster along the MoPac Expressway.

On Wednesday, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) board voted to increase the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph for those who drive the express lanes. The new minimum speed will now be 55 mph.

This will be on an 11-mile stretch of road from Parmer Lane to Cesar Chavez Street.

CTRMA staff is making these decisions based on a speed study. They think this change will reduce the number of crashes and meet people's expectations on the tolls.

In that study, they also found that 15% of people driving in the lane were going under 55 mph, which is why the minimum speed was added.

"People getting into the express lane expect that premium ride and reliability and it impacts that so, operationally, we wanted to see a guaranteed minimum speed from our public," said Justin Word, the director of engineering with the CTRMA.

RELATED: What the Beep: Why is a lane on MoPac used only for exiting?

These express lanes opened less than two years ago. According to our partners at the Austin American-Statesman, reports from that time in 2018 showed the use of toll lanes going up. 

The changes are expected to cost $80,000. That money will be used to cover the cost of new speed signs.

Since the express lanes opened, drivers have had to drive 65 mph like the rest of traffic. The upcoming change has drivers happy.

"I think it will help mitigate some of the problems, where people will feel they can drive faster than the main lanes can drive," said Travis Wilson, who uses the express lanes every day. "You've paid your money, you want to go an express pace."

The change doesn't take effect immediately. It will take three to six months until the new signs are put up. 

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