Colorado lawmakers OK changes for highway speed limits, truck permits

March 27, 2020

Keith Goble


In the hours before the Colorado General Assembly temporarily adjourned due to coronavirus concerns, one bill sent to the governor’s desk would open the door to an increase of the speed limits on portions of rural state highways.

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

House lawmakers voted 52-5 to sign-off on Senate changes to a bill to require the Colorado 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. The Senate approved the bill earlier in the day on a 29-1 vote.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, HB1178 would consider 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.

Holtorf previously told one committee 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 would 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 would then submit a report on their findings to the legislature’s transportation committees.

HB1178 awaits Gov. Jared Polis’ signature.

Permits for certain trucks

A separate bill sent to the governor’s desk is intended to improve efficiency in the permit process for certain commercial vehicles.

State law allows fleet owners to apply to CDOT for two separate annual noninterstate overweight divisible load permits. The rule applies to quad-axle and two- or three-axle trailers.

The current fee is $2,000 plus $35 per vehicle permitted. Revenue raised is credited to CDOT’s construction and maintenance budget.

HB1030 would make available a combined annual fleet permit for affected trailers. Fleet owners would still pay the $35 per vehicle fee, but they would save $2,000 with the ability to apply for a combination permit.

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.

One more bill still moving through the statehouse would create a three-month overweight divisible load permits for two- or three-axle trailer combinations.

Currently, affected trucks pay a $500 annual permit, or $250 for a six-month permit.

HB1224 would authorize affected trucks to be permitted every three months at a cost of $125.

More Land Line coverage of news from Colorado is available.


Lucas Oil

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.