Drivers on the nation's road with the highest legal speed limit are running into high tolls and slow pigs.
On October 24, Texas opened up a 41 mile toll way that has the highest legal speed limit in America. Cars and semi-trucks can both top out at 85 mph. The toll road is hoped to alleviate crowding on Interstate 35 between San Antonio and Austin. For now, the toll road is free to all drivers, however, beginning on Veteran's Day (November 11 for you non-patriotic types) a three tier pay system will be implemented. Cars with state issued electronic toll tags will pay $6.17 to drive the 41 mile stretch, cars without the state issued tags will pay $8.21 for the full 41 miles and commercial trucks will pay in excess of 24 dollars for the 41 mile trip. The road was built with a combination of state and private funding.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has called the toll road unsafe for truck traffic. The organization has taken the unusual step of requesting that the State of Texas lower the road's speed limit. The ATA is urging other states to not follow in Texas' example of raising speed limits. It's not clear yet if commercial truckers will use the road or not. What is clear is that high speed drivers are now encountering a slow moving obstacle that the locals have been dealing with for decades: Pigs. In the three days that the highway has been open there have been two reported accidents involving drivers hitting pigs. The bodies of three dead pigs have been found on the side of the road, so it is possible that there were some unreported collisions with pigs. I have been in a few accidents in my life (once during a nice Midwestern blizzard I hit a patch of ice and did three complete circles before spinning down an overpass embankment) but I simply cannot imagine driving into a 300 lb pig (or more) at 85 mph. I hope that Texas takes the advice of the ATA and lowers the speed limit before someone loses their life driving at a completely unreasonable rate of speed.