Colorado governor OKs changes for highway speeds, overweight permits

April 29, 2020

Keith Goble


Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law two bills that address speed limits on some highways and the overweight permit fee structure.

State law permits vehicles to travel 65 mph on rural highways. Drivers on rural interstates are authorized to drive 75 mph.

The Colorado General Assembly approved a bill to require the state Department of Transportation to conduct a study to identify portions of rural highways where the speed limit can be safely raised by 5 mph to 70 mph.

Previously HB1178, the new law calls for considering factors that include whether the portion of highway is predominantly straight, the quality of the highway surface, and the amount of shoulder space on the highway.

Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, previously told one committee that he is pursuing consideration of a 5 mph speed bump because “there are state highways in rural Colorado that really are wide open, and you literally drive for a long time before you see anything or anybody.”

The highway department will take into consideration engineering studies to examine the actual speed of traffic on a roadway, existing roadway conditions, crash history, and other environmental factors.

CDOT will then submit a report on their findings to the legislature’s transportation committees.

Overweight permits

Another new Colorado law is intended to reduce costs of overweight permits for fleets with diverse axle configurations.

State law permits fleet owners to apply to CDOT for two separate annual noninterstate overweight divisible load permits. The permit categories are broken down into quad-axle and two- or three-axle trailers groups. Each permit category pays a permit fee of $2,000 plus $35 per permitted vehicle. Revenue raised is credited to CDOT’s construction and maintenance budget.

Previously HB1030, the new law eliminates the two permit categories and instead combines them into a single permit fee of $2,000 and $35 per trailer. Fleet owners would still pay the $35 per vehicle fee, but they would not have to pay $4,000 when applying for a combined permit. Instead, the combined permit cost would be $2,000.

The agency reports during the most recent fiscal year they issued 160 quad-axle overweight permits and 40 two- or three-axle trailer overweight permits.

The new rule takes effect on July 1.

More Land Line coverage of news from Colorado is available.