I-64 speed limit increasing in Hampton, Newport News

HAMPTON/NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) -- A near 10-mile section of Interstate 64 on the Peninsula will see a speed limit increase this week.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release the limit is being raised from 60 mph to 65 mph from Jefferson Avenue in Newport News to just east of Hampton Roads Center Parkway in Hampton. This covers 9.5 miles of the interstate highway, according to VDOT.

It's an adjustment that Hampton Roads traffic engineer Mike Corwin says will make the strip safer. 

"I'm going 65, 70 miles per hour, I come upon a motorist that's doing 55 or maybe 60 miles per hour, that creates a speed differential when motorists hit that it tends to bring out the worst in some of us. They look for ways to get around you they want to just cut through whatever gaps are available so we try to get everyone flowing at one comfortable speed," explained Corwin. 

New signs will be posted on Wednesday, Dec. 12,  for the westbound side -- and the eastbound side if time permits. If more time is needed, the eastbound signs will be installed overnight on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The new speed limit will go into effect immediately once a sign is posted, VDOT said.

Drivers at a gas station off the highway talked to 10 On Your Side about the change. 

"It might not make much of a change but it may motivate them to go a little bit faster, like closer to 80 than 70, so hopefully they get that under control before that actually happens," said driver Joshua Greenlaw.

"There's a lot of traffic through here all the time, in the morning rush hour traffic and it should help, hopefully it will," added driver Henry Weathers. 

VDOT said the limit is being increased as a result of a recent study of this segment, which looked at existing field conditions and crash data from a three-year period.

"We found the majority of motorists were driving 65 miles or more per hour so we want to bring it up at a speed which motorists feel comfortable at," Corwin said. 

That study also showed the crash rate on that stretch is lower than the state average. 

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