IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho State Police are cracking down on Highway 26 drivers after the Idaho Transportation Department lowered the speed limit by 20 miles per hour.
"Sixty-five mph versus 45 mph is significant," ISP Lt. Chris Weadick said.
ITD reduced the speed limit from 65 mph to 45 mph on 11 miles of Highway 26 between Highway 43 and Ririe late last week. ISP is adding an additional deputy to the roads to make sure drivers are aware of the speed reduction.
"Most of our coverage is going to be our regular deployment; however, we are working with ITD to see if we can get extra troopers out there to really get that traffic slowed down, to promote that traffic safety and hopefully eliminate vehicle damage," Weadick said.
ISP officials said they understand that drivers are creatures of habit and driving 65 mph is a habit so deputies may issue a warning if you are not driving too fast over the speed limit, but they do want to remind you that 45 mph is now the speed limit.
"It is a 65 mph zone that has been significantly reduced down to 45," Weadick said. "We are out promoting traffic safety and we can do that many times through just our presence. We do that sometimes through verbal warnings and sometimes with citations."
ITD made the decision to reduce the speed limit after hundreds of drivers complained about rocks flying up and hitting their cars. ITD is not sure how long the speed-limit change will be in effect.
"ITD expects the lowered speed limit on U.S. 26 between Idaho Falls and Ririe to remain in place until the rock chips stop coming loose," an ITD spokesperson wrote in a statement. "This posted speed limit reduction from 65 to 45 mph could last a few days or a few months, depending on the extent to which sweeping, snowfall and plowing mitigate the problem."
State police are working with ITD to figure out how to pay for any costs that may come from the extra patrols.