The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has approved a speed limit of 80 mpg for 54 miles of roadway in the Austin area. The 80-mph limit goes into effect on segments of SH 130 from Georgetown to Mustang Ridge and SH 45SE from Mustang Ridge to I-35 in south Travis County.

The 82nd Texas Legislature passed the bill Texas’ Governor Rick Perry signed (HB 1201), allowing the TxDOT to establish speeds up to 85 mph on certain Texas highways. The TxDOT conducted studies that showed higher speeds could be posted safely.

"These higher speed limits on SH 130 and SH 45 Southeast provide travelers a safe and efficient alternative to the congestion on I-35 in Austin," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations director. "Though the distance is longer, the actual travel time is comparable and more reliable."

TxDOT is conducting further speed studies on U.S. roads where the speed limit is 70 mph. Last year, TxDOT said Texas legislators passed HB 1353 that allows the department to establish speeds up to 75 mph if speed studies showed travel at that speed was safe.

According to TxDOT, before last year’s legislation, Texas had 1,445 miles of 75 mph speed limits and 521 miles of 80 mph speed limits on certain state highways. These speed limits were previously restricted to specific rural counties and highways located mostly in West Texas. Texas now has more than 3,000 miles zoned at 75 mph or higher, and 575 miles posted at 80 mph.