Road Warrior readers have been writing in regularly for the last few weeks asking when is the speed limit on Highway 101 from north Petaluma to south Santa Rosa going to be raised back to 65. We’ve been asking Caltrans, too, and here’s the answer from spokesman Adam Priest:

Caltrans is currently in the process of completing all task list items related to the completion of the U.S. Route 101 Central A and B Project. During this and the prior phases of construction, the modified 55 mile per hour speed limit, done so to insure the safety of motorists during construction, was enacted. At this phase, though the project is essentially completed, there remain workers and contractors on the highway putting the finishing touches on this project. To ensure, again, both the safety of the workers and the motorists, the 55 mile per hour speed limit remains in effect. 

Several projects in the area remain. When these final actions are complete, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol will return the speed limit to its original 65 miles per hour. We appreciate your patience.

We cannot provide for you at this time an exact date of this return. Caltrans, however, is working dligently toward toward a speedy completion.

We will keep you informed of our progress.

So the message is: Hang in there.

But as readers realize, hardly anyone is going 55 during noncommute hours. (I even was passed on the Cotati Grade by a Caltrans truck that must’ve been doing about 70.) The CHP acknowledges few are paying attention to the speed limit but warns officers are ticketing speeders. I’ve seen officers using Lidar on the Grade as traffic flowed by at 65, so I’m guessing they’re looking for those really abusing the speed limit, and there are plenty.


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  1. Denise

    Very few people actually drive 55 in this area even in the slow lane. I am disappointed that I have to be tailgated (in the slow lane) just to avoid getting a ticket. Either the CHP needs to step up enforcement, or they need to raise the speed limit, because even semi trucks do not drive 55! This is at the point of dangerous absurdity.

    November 29th, 2012 8:50 am

  2. Dar

    I love the non-answer answer. Very helpful. I find it hard to believe they don’t have a schedule or a timeline for the work that needs to be done. They also could have provided information on what work was outstanding that still needs to be complete. Oh well. I guess my expectations are too high.

    November 29th, 2012 9:03 am

  3. sonomaborn

    nobody that’s lived here decades pays any mind to that sign

    the speed limit is whatever you feel safe

    pay the ticket, big deal

    November 29th, 2012 9:08 am

  4. Typical Caltrans

    Yeah, police don’t care if people are going 65 because, like everyone else, they realize that Caltrans having a few cones here and there in place for months without a single person doing any sort of work is ridiculous.

    I was doing 60 up the grade and a cruiser passed me up doing about 70; fine by me.

    Honestly, anyone doing 55 are going to get very angry looks from other drivers during commute hours.

    We’re over it, we’re just over it Caltrans.

    November 29th, 2012 9:38 am

  5. sheryl

    As if anyone does 55 through there. LOL!! I tried to, for months, but almost got run over too many times. Now that all lanes are open, everyone is going 65-75 mph.

    November 29th, 2012 9:42 am

  6. A

    CalTrans has become a joke.

    November 29th, 2012 9:45 am

  7. Jack McClure

    This spokesperson’s statement is without content. It’s an art.
    CalTrans does have a schedule for completion. What is it?
    The existing gap between posted and actual speeds is dangerous; many studies have show these dangers.
    This kind of statement supports citizens’ belief that CalTrans is a tired bureacracy, is not accountable, and cannot balance safety with getting the job done.

    November 29th, 2012 9:47 am

  8. Bob

    Very rarely do you find a chp officer on either side of the grade night or day!! I drive thru there 4 times a night and day and with reckless abandonment people are doing 70 or higher–nobody except me is doing 55 and nobody gets a ticket??? The double fine zone is the biggest joke on highway 101 — Where’s the enforcement?? No wonder there are so many crashes between Rohnert Park and Petaluma north and southbound!!! They say they will crack down on speeders but i haven’t seen it yet???

    November 29th, 2012 9:50 am

  9. tommylaw

    the speed limit is just one problem. how about that lack luster of a carpool lane. nobody really carpools in sonoma county. did everyone forget many years ago we paid a lot of gas taxes to add the third lane then they mismanaged the fundsand now say that the state paid for the work and now has to have the lane as a carpool lane. it’s all about money for them to ticket us when we pais for it in the beginning.

    November 29th, 2012 10:24 am

  10. Cash Cow!

    The sign should say ‘speed limit 55 when workers are present’ otherwise it’s just a cash cow.

    November 29th, 2012 11:28 am

  11. Shelby

    Highway 101 has turned into such a joke. Yesterday driving south in the POURING rain the highway was flooded literally from Santa Rosa into Petaluma. Then yesterday evening driving north when it had cleared up, I got past going up the Cotati grade by 3 cars doing at least 85 mph. On top of that the CHP’s going after people are just ridiculous. Coming home from work the other night, around midnight, a CHP motorcyclist came riding right up behind me, when NO ONE else was around. So I decided I would slow down to allow his to pass but no he decided ride RIGHT next to me in MY lane. Learn boundaries guys, your not only putting yourself at harm.

    Cannot wait for this hell to end with 101. Wish I could just drive the back roads to work without having to leave an extra 30 mins earlier.

    November 29th, 2012 11:31 am

  12. DP

    Like everyone has said NO ONE goes 55. I was going 60 in the slow lane and someone flashed their lights at me. Way i see it the one time i decide to go with the “flow of traffic” aka 70mph, is the one time i will see CHP pull someone over and I dont like the look of flashing lights in my mirror. Just be safe everyone!!

    November 29th, 2012 12:16 pm

  13. teedog

    After they make enough off of all of the speeding tickets in this area that should already be changed to 65 mph, unreal.

    November 29th, 2012 2:49 pm

  14. Stephen

    When will Cal Trans get off their butt and give us 3 lanes to Marin? 101 should but 65 at least. I drive that every day to the SR Bridge and we need some relief. Petaluma is packed by 6am. For those of you in the slow lane, drive 65 at least.

    November 29th, 2012 5:52 pm

  15. JL

    I agree with tommylaw that the commute lane is a joke. I drove to Santa Rosa at 3:00, the start of the “commute time” and no one was in the commute lane – empty – and all the other lanes were full. It’s silly to have the commute hour start at 3. I hate driving to Santa Rosa to shop as it is but the commute lane just makes no sense. It was an idea whose time has passed.

    November 29th, 2012 5:53 pm

  16. Todd

    I got a ticket on the grade doing 85. He said he only stopped me becuese i was going faster than 80 MPH. I still drive 80 plus up the grade.

    Pay the ticket and forget about it!!

    November 30th, 2012 10:30 am

  17. Skeeter

    Have you noticed that one of the northbound guardrails has been destroyed already. Does the reflective striping attract drivers towards them.

    December 2nd, 2012 12:47 pm

  18. Skeeter

    Maybe, soon after we see the K-Rails removed from the first southbound bridge into Rohnert Park.

    December 2nd, 2012 12:59 pm

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