Speed limits remain unchanged for rural Pott County roads

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Pottawatomie County commissioners, from left, Pat Weixelman, Travis Altenhofen and Dee McKee. (Staff photo by Eric Scheidt)

The speed limit of Pottawottamie County’s gravel roads will remain at 55 miles per hour.

That was the decision made Monday at the county’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.  By a count of 2-1, the board rejected the proposal, which would reduce county speed limits on gravel roads to 40 miles per hour. The resolution that was repealed applied to all speed limit signs with a lower speed limit previously considered.

Specifically, the project would cost $90,000 and involve the installation of 335 new speed limit signs across the county.

Chairman Pat Weixelman, who opposed the bid, said the biggest factors in his decision were both the spending involved and enforcement from police.

“People are going to drive the way the way they feel safe… I just can’t see pulling the plug on $90,000 worth of signs”, he said.

Despite believing that some roads can use this, Weixelman had another issue with the proposal, concerning its uniformity.  He would prefer looking at individual roads before making a decision that would affect all roads, saying,

“I don’t think this total blanket of the entire county does it.”

In regards to spot-checking each road, Public Works Director Peter Clark pointed out that over a two mile stretch of road, this would require approximately a week of manhours to make an analysis.

But Board Member Travis Altenhofen, who was also in disagreement of the proposal, had something to add.

“But there’s more from just doing that study as well.  Doing that, we are prepping for if we want to do road improvement projects.  There is more benefit than just a speed limit sign [gained]from that research.”

Vice-Chair Dee McKee disagreed with her two fellow commissioners’ decision.

“This is the least expensive and most functional way to provide safety and security to all who live here,” McKee said.  “What really hurts is to say it’s too expensive to do this way and…commit 50 hours of time from our professional staff and their work time…  are we setting policy or are we trying to pick and choose little pieces to the point where eventually we don’t have a comprehensive plan for quality development of a county that’s growing extremely fast.”

Monday’s meeting marked the last opportunity for the commission to accept the current bid from Traffic Zone Services.

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