Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ITD considering speed changes in Hailey, Carey

Bellevue may have smaller 25 mph zone later this year

    Not only is the Idaho Transportation Department considering modifying the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit in Bellevue, but the department also is conducting studies that could affect speed limits in Hailey and Carey as well.
    The studies are required because of a change in the law earlier this year that brought speed limits on state and federal highways where they run through cities under the control the state of Idaho rather than municipalities.
    “We’re looking at the speed limits in locations that were posted by the municipalities that did not have ITD speed studies to support them,” Devin Rigby, district engineer for ITD District 4 in Shoshone, said Tuesday.
    As part of the studies, Rigby said ITD works closely with the municipalities to identify where schools are located, where higher accident rates occur and other considerations to be taken into account before decisions are made.
    ITD has been working with Bellevue officials the past few months and is farther along in its study there than in Hailey or Carey. Rigby said the current ITD proposal is to raise the speed limit on state Highway 75 on both the north and south ends of Bellevue and that a decision may be made within the next month or two.
    “You’ll get a press release before we put up signs,” Rigby said.
    In Hailey, ITD is looking at possible speed limit changes also along Highway 75, where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour through much of the city. In Carey, ITD is studying the speed limits of both U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 93. Rigby said speed zone changes in Hailey and Carey could possibly be made before the end of 2012
    Rigby noted that sometimes lower speed limits actually increase accident frequency because they present a situation where vehicles could be traveling at varying rates of speed.
    “We just want to know that we’ve covered all our bases, and we’re not going into this without all the details,” Rigby said.

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