I-49, Same Highway, New Name, New Design and New Rules Of The Road


On December 12, 2012, U.S. Highway 71 will be designated Interstate 49. This change to an interstate designation affects several important aspects of travel upon this route. Motorists, and commercial vehicle drivers in particular, need to be aware of the following:

* The speed limit upon rural interstates is 70 mph unless otherwise posted. (Section 304.010 RSMo.) The minimum speed allowed on interstates is 40 mph. (Section 304.011 RSMo.)

* All vehicles in motion upon a highway having two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction shall be driven in the right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a proper left turn or when otherwise directed by traffic markings, signs, or signals. (Section 304.015 RSMo.)

* It is unlawful to make any left turn or semicircular or U-turn on interstate highways except at an intersection or interchange or at any signed location. Only emergency vehicles or law enforcement vehicles are the exception. (Section 304.015 RSMO.)

* No motorized bicycle may be operated on any public thoroughfare located within this state which has been designated as part of the federal interstate highway system. (Section 307.195 RSMo.)

* Changing U.S. Highway 71 to I-49 will affect single axle weights, tandem axle weights, bridge formula limits, unpermitted over dimension loads hauling farm implements and agricultural products, and solid waste haulers. The new interstate designation will impact enforcement procedures regarding the shifting of loads on overweight axles without being charged with a violation, which is allowed on U.S. highways. (Section 304.230 RSMo.) All size and weight limitations currently enforced on interstates within Missouri will be applicable to Interstate 49 after a 90-day enforcement grace period of December 12, 2012 to March 11, 2013. (Section 304.230 RSMo.)

* The shoulder of an interstate highway is for emergency stopping only, which includes entrance and exit ramps.

Questions concerning commercial vehicle operation laws may be directed to the Patrol’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division at 573- 526-6128. Additional questions regarding traffic laws or information in this release may be directed to the Patrol’s Public Information and Education Division at 573-526-6115. Inquiries also may be sent to mshppied@mshp.dps.mo.gov