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Speed limits will drop on 5 highways in SW Texas

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New Mexico motorists traveling to Texas will soon encounter lower speed limits on a number of heavily traveled highways once they cross the state line.

The speed limits on five southwest Texas highways will be reduced by five miles per hour, following a decision by the Texas Transportation Commission in December.

According to a press release from the Commission, the speed limit will drop to 65 mph on U.S. Highway 285 from the New Mexico state line to the northern city limits of Pecos; Highway 302 from Notrees, a city in Ector County, to U.S. Highway 285; and RM (ranch to market) 652 from the New Mexico state line to the Culberson County line.

Speed limits will fall to 70 mph on Highway 18 from the New Mexico state line to the northern city limits of Kermit and from the southern city limits of Kermit to Monahans.

New speed limit signs are expected to be installed in January on Highways 302 and 18. When new signs are posted on Highway 285 and RM 652 will depend on how contractors progress on other projects and when workzone speed limits are removed, the release states.

The counties affected are all in the commission’s Odessa District, which consists of Andrews, Crane, Ector, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward and Winkler counties.

Law enforcement will start enforcing the reduced speed limits once the signs are installed.

The decision by the Commission was made in the interest of public safety, Odessa District Engineer John Speed said in the release.

“We recognize that some will not appreciate this decision, but we feel it is in the best course of action in terms of safety,” Speed said.

Gene Powell, a spokesperson for the Commission, said, “It’s something where when we see an increase in crashes and we know traffic is increasing, we always look to see what can be done to make corridors safer, and this was one of the measures we could use,” Powell said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.