The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is raising the speed limit to 65 mph on about 20 miles of the Beeline Highway just south of Payson.
Speed limit sign changes are scheduled to be made on Wednesday, Dec. 2, unless bad weather interferes. Motorists should not drive 65 mph until sign changes are made.
The speed limit will be raised from Slate Creek Road (beginning of four-lane section north of Sunflower) to Payson. However, the speed limit will remain 55 mph on southbound Highway 87 for three miles south of Payson (milepost 247.5 to 243.6) because it is a downhill stretch and on the two-lane section in the Sycamore Creek riparian area near Sunflower (milepost 218.45 to 228.5).
Speed limit changes on the Beeline Highway from McDowell Road to Sunflower are still under study.
Randy Blake, a traffic analyst for ADOT in Prescott, said an ADOT traffic engineering study was performed to determine the appropriate speed limit based on such considerations as traffic volumes, accidents, terrain and actual speeds. He said the new speed limit will generally reflect the speeds that motorists currently drive.
The Department of Public Safety concurred with the study.
The speed limit increase on Highway 87 is part of an ongoing ADOT review of non-interstate highways over the past year. The review is scheduled to be completed this year.
Speed limits have been increased on about 30 highways, including Highway 70 from Globe to the New Mexico state line, and Highway 60 from Globe to the New Mexico state line.