RENO, NV - For about a year now motorists traveling north on I-580 through Washoe Valley heading into that new section ahead have seen a sign warning them they've got to slow down, "65 mph speed zone ahead.'
That's about to change. In fact the change is already underway..
Just up the road, a Nevada Department of Transportation crew is taking down a 65 mile an hour sign and putting up one that raises the speed limit to 70.
The limit has been 70 miles an hour through Washoe Valley for years, but when NDOT opened the 8 and a half miles of new roadway between here and the Mount Rose Highway, they left it at the lower speed.
"I think most of the engineers knew it would go to 70 eventually," says NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder, "but we wanted to give it a trial and coming out of Washoe Valley going to Reno, you're going from a four lane to a six lane road at 70. Why would you slow down to 65?"
After a year's experience and some study on the new roadway, NDOT determined what most motorists see every day. Everyone seems to be driving it at the new speed anyway.
Magruder says that's not a concern.
"A lot of people are going to say 'If you go to 70 miles an hour does that mean people are going to go 75, 80.' No. Most people are driving what's comfortable and reasonable for the conditions. We're confident those speeds of 71 to 73 tops are always going to remain the same.
Magruder says NDOT gets nothing but positive reviews except those who still grumble about the cost of the highway. It is, he says, saving lives and has reduced traffic on the old road through Pleasant Valley.
Commuters say it's shaved minutes off their drive. Now it's just a little quicker.
The change, which only effects the highway south of the Mount Rose Highway, should be complete by the end of the week.