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Can't drive 55? Minnesota to study speed limits

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On this busy travel weekend, consider this: You might be able to hit the gas – legally – just a bit more in Minnesota.

Minnesota transportation officials plan a massive new study of speed limits on roads with 55-mph limits.

State lawmakers in the legislative session that ended this month directed highway officials to raise the limits on roads where it can "reasonably and safely" be done (see bill language beginning line 142.31).

The legislation requires traffic engineers to examine all 55-mph roads between now and 2019, and any new speed limits deemed safe and appropriate would take effect as soon as new signs are posted.

That's no small task. The state has 6,771 miles of two-lane/two-way state highways with 55-mph limits, the Associated Press notes.

So don't get to speed-freaky just yet, state officials note.

"The fact we're studying the roads does not mean you can jump to the conclusion that all roads will be raised to 60 miles per hour," MnDOT assistant state traffic engineer Peter Buchen told the AP.

Last fall, state officials raised the limit on about 730 miles of highway from 55 mph to 60, including on the full length of Highway 75, which stretches from the southern corner of the state to the Canadian border. In addition, the speed limit was raised on the majority of Highway 59, which enters Minnesota in Worthington and ends at the Canadian border. The limit was also raised on 14 miles of Highway 7 between Highway 75 and Highway 59.

An estimated 36.1 million Americans planned to travel to holiday destinations further than 50 miles from home between Thursday, May 22, and Monday, May 26 – most of them by road. That made it the second-busiest Memorial Day travel holiday since 2000, according to AAA.

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