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Oct 24, 2012 4:00 PM by NBC News

Nation's fastest road opens in Texas

(NBC NEWS) - The "need for speed" is being satisfied today on a 40 mile stretch between Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

This morning, officials cut the ribbon - or some say waved the checkered flag - opening the fastest stretch of highway in America: forty miles between Austin and San Antonio, where the speed limit is now 85 miles an hour.

State Road 130 cost nearly a $1.5 billion. It was a public-private project, with the builder sharing toll revenues with the state. The new, faster lanes are giving drivers the option of paying to bypass the congestion of nearby I-35.

"Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio has gone from reliable, to unreliable, to reliably bad," said Chris Lippincott with the State Highway 130 Concession Company.

But there are some who say bumping the speed limit up to 85 is too quick of a fix..

"Going faster increases the number of crashes, it increases the number of serious injuries in those crashes and the number of deaths," said Adrian Lund with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Builders say it will be safe, as long as drivers keep their eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel.
"Everybody's got to put away their cell phones, keep their seatbelt fastened, and use the left lane only for passing," Lippincott said.

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