BLACKFOOT – Bingham County Public Works Director Dusty Whited addressed county commissioners regarding three different traffic studies he conducted at the request of county residents.
Whited started with Thomas Road. Thomas Road has no speed limit posted until after Clark Road miles away from where Thomas meets Highway 39.
Whited explained that because the road is unmarked, it falls under Idaho code that the speed limit defaults to 55 miles per hour and that the corner near Cherry Plant is recommended to be taken at no faster speed than 35 mph.
He explained that Thomas Road has been designated by the commissioners as a major arterial roadway through the area and that was a reason for concern to him regarding decreasing the limit.
However, following his study, he found that it would be best to drop the speed of Thomas Road from the turn from Highway 39 until the change of speed to 50 mph past Clark Road to be the right recommendation. Whited requested that Chief Deputy Jeff Gardner and Sheriff Craig Rowland drive the road as well, at varying speeds, and then discussed with them how they felt about the potential change.
Both agreed that it is possible to take the corner at 55 mph, but it is not safe and is not recommended. They felt his recommendation would be the right choice. Whited did not want to follow the request completely, seeing that the original request was to lower the speed to 35 mph. Instead, Whited made the recommendation to the commissioners to lower the limit to 45 mph.
Commissioner Whitney Manwaring asked the parties involved whether that could be agreeable. They felt that a good effort was put into making the decision and they were comfortable with it.
The next road to come into question was the speed limit on Lovell Lane. This road is a residential street off of Thomas Road and has caused concern for families in the area. The speed limit was marked at 35 mph, and the average speed was near 30 mph according to Whited. He felt that because it is so close to a residential area and feeds directly into an arterial roadway that reducing the road to 25 mph as requested was not out of the question. He would go on to make the recommendation to the commission who voted all in favor of changing it.
The last street that Whited studied was Experiment Station Road near Aberdeen. Experiment Station Road is one of the main feeders to Sportsman’s Park if coming from the east on Highway 39. Currently, the road that it connects with has a yield sign at the end of it where it tees off into Experiment Station Road. The reasoning for the request came because of concerns about safety with increased farm equipment travel in the area and people not slowing down for or passing them legally.
The limit was 55 mph but it was requested to lower it to 45 mph which Whited felt was sufficient following his study. He also suggested changing the yield sign on Boat Dock Road to a stop sign. The commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to approve the changes as presented.
All three roads will have new signage posted in the near future to make drivers aware of the new speed limits.