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Interstate 26 getting new speed limits near Johnson City, Kingsport

Workers hang one of the new speed limit signs on I-26.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Sullivan, Carter, and Washington County, Tennessee, are changing gears on Interstate 26. The speed limit is changing on the 27 mile stretch of highway.

Benjamin Webb lives in Washington County and drives on I-26 every week. He's seen his fair share of wrecks.

"I'd say about two to three times a month there's a wreck right around the Gray, Boone creek exit," Webb said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation also noticed the wrecks. They included three fatal crashes between 2014 and 2016.

"The reasoning behind the speed limit changes is, first and foremost, the safety of the motoring public in Upper East," TDOT Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi said.

Before the change, the speed limit fluctuated between 55 and 70 miles an hour. With the new signs and limits in place, drivers will be able to go 60 or 65. Trucks have a speed limit of 55.

Crews are scheduled to finish putting up signs on Wednesday, but they'll be on the side of the road until then.

"Please use extra caution when you are on Interstate 26 this week, because crews will be present in Sullivan, Washington, and Carter counties," Nagi said.

Officials hope the new changes will improve traffic safety. Webb isn't convinced they will.

"Most people around here don't pay attention to the speed limit anyways," he said. "They just kind of stick with the flow of traffic."

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