They say everything in Texas is bigger – and soon the Lone Star State will be faster too. Texas is going to be home to the fastest road in America.
The Texas Transportation Commission has approved plans to open a stretch of highway with an unheard of speed limit – 85 mph.
The 41 mile stretch of road between San Antonio and Austin, under construction now, is set to open in November and while some drivers can’t wait to speed down the highway, others aren’t sure it’s a good idea.
“The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up,” Russ Rader, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told the Associated Press.
A 2009 report in the American Journal of Public Health studied traffic fatalities in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005 and found that more than 12,500 deaths were attributable to increases in speed limits on all kinds of roads.
Most highways in the U.S. top out at 75 mph.
Still, drivers in Texas are already getting excited for the new highway.
“I would love it,” Austin resident Alan Guckian told the AP. “Sometimes it’s fun to just open it up.”
This Texas highway is poised to surpass speeds only seen on Germany’s autobahn, where there actually is no set speed limit, just an “advised” 81 mph.
The Texas Transportation Commission says this road is designed with high speeds in mind.
“Safety is our top priority and tests have shown the designated speed is a safe one,” agency spokeswoman Veronica Bayer said.
Toll prices haven’t been set for the new road, but Steve Marcy, who commutes daily between San Antonio and Austin, says he thinks while the speedy new road may attract some new drivers, most drivers might not think it’s worth paying the tolls.
“For most people I talk to, it’s a cost issue,” Marcy said.
Texas officials say the road should be ready for commuters by Nov. 11.