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Speed limits going up

By: Gloria Beverage
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Speed limits on three local roads may be raised later this spring. The Weimar/Applegate/Colfax Municipal Advisory Council gave a nod of approval on Feb. 17 to a proposal to raise the speed limit on Rollins Lake Road (from State Route 174 to Magra Road) from 35 to 40 MPH. The council also agreed with the recommendation to raise the speed limit on Magra Road from Rollins Lake Road to Gold Run Road to 45 MPH. But, the speed limit on Ridge Road from Canyon Creek Road to Alta Bonnynook Road to Interstate 80 will be capped at 40 MPH. The California Highway Patrol requested the changes so they could use radar enforcement on these roads, explained Placer County Department of Public Works traffic engineer Phillip Vassion. The existing speed limit is non-radar enforceable, he continued. “Rollins Lake Road is currently posted at 35 MPH, but it is not radar enforced,” he explained. “That means the CHP can not use equipment to enforce the speed limit.” After receiving the CHP’s request, the county conducted a speed survey to determine if the request was feasible. “The survey consists of actually going out to the road and monitoring traffic,” he said. “What we have is a piece of equipment that measures the speed of vehicles.” Using the speed of at least 100 vehicles, he continued, they use a bell curve to determine the speed of 85 percent of the vehicles then round that to the nearest 5 MPH. In making the final determination, he stressed, the county also takes into consideration the number vehicle collisions and the amount of traffic on the road as well as any roadside conditions that could impede a driver’s line of sight. The results of the engineering survey supported the 5-MPH increase on Rollins Lake Road, Vassion said. “It will actually make the road safer,” noted Commission Chair Dave Wiltsee, “The CHP will be better able to police it.” The proposed new speed limits will go to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for their approval in April. “Once they approve, it takes 30 days before we go out and put new signs up,” Vassion said.