A recently released speed limit study conducted on county roads in Brice Prairie received mixed reviews from the Brice Prairie Safety Committee.
The committee formed in March has been meeting to find ways to promote safety for bicyclists and pedestrians using county roads. The Onalaska Town Board approved creating the committee after several Brice Prairie residents complained about motorists not observing posted speed limits.
The move to form a safety committee started at the Onalaska Town Board’s December 2017 meeting after Brice Prairie resident Jolene Huiss requested the speed limits be lowered on County Hwy Z because she believed motorists drove faster than the posted limits and were endangering bicyclists and pedestrians using the roadway.
La Crosse County sets the speed limits on its highways, but any changes in speed limits must first have a study conducted of roadway conditions. To have the study done, the county contracted with engineering and design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. La Crosse Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain presented the results of the study to the town board at its Nov. 13 meeting.
At the Brice Prairie safety committee’s Nov. 28 meeting, committee member Huiss voiced concerns about the study being conducted at the end of February and the first part of March.
“It was done in the winter and not in the summer,” Huiss said. “Since July first, there’s been an increase in number of new homes and in the population.”
Discussion centered around on the concerns of some members about the varied speed limits still recommended for County Hwy Z from the corner of County Hwy Z and County Hwy ZB to the turnaround near Lytle’s Landing.
There was a proposal to support a 45 mph speed limit from the intersection of highways Z/ZB to the turnaround at the end of County Hwy Z with the exception of the section of the roadway going through a residential area currently set at 25 p.m.
Committee members agreed the speed limit in that stretch of the roadway should be left at 25 mph.
Four safety members voted in favor of the motion with committee member and La Crosse County Supervisor, Vicki Burke, abstaining.
The committee members also discussed the increased speed limit proposed for County Hwy OT from 25 mph to 35 mph beginning from the Hwy. 35 intersection and traveling west going through Midway and a nearby subdivision.
“Is it safe to drive that fast past those structures there?” said safety committee member Scott Cooper. “What they kept 35 (mph) is fine, but it should be 25 in residential (areas).”
To change the speed limits, the La Crosse County Board will need to approve a resolution stating what the speed limits would be.
“We don’t know what the resolution is yet,” Burke said. “If they (Brice Prairie and Midway residents) want to express their opinion about the speed limit changes, they can contact me before the Dec. 10 meeting.”