The resolution gives support to increasing the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph as appropriate on limited access sections, and to 60 mph on non-limited access sections – except in congested areas with traffic control lights.
Judge Executive Logan Chick told his court Tuesday that 68-80 was not showing up on Internet based GPS mapping systems, which calculate routes based on posted speed limits and not the actual construction of the road, therefore routing traffic to two lane US 79 and US 431 in lieu of US 68 Ky 80.
“The current speed limit is depriving our county and neighboring counties of economic advantage. Prospective industry looks at this and may decide not to locate here because of it,” said Chick, who noted that Warren and Christian Counties were already supporting the change as was the board of the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD). Trigg and Todd Counties are expected to follow with support as well.
Tom Harned executive director of LEAD explained to the N-D&L that Logan County was being missed because of the current speed limit.
“We are not getting credit for our highly developed four lane,” said Harned adding the algorithm calculations used on the internet based mapping systems such as Google, MapQuest and OnStar, because of the 55 mph speed limit, are routing to 70 mph highways and missing 68-80 all together.
“The state of Kentucky spent large amounts of money improving US 68 Ky 80 and we are not getting the credit for it because the speed limit was never changed,” said Harned who adds that according to logistics, which everyone in the economic arena looks at, is not giving credit to the four lane.
There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get the speed limit changed and passing this resolution is just one step. According to Harned it will take a consensus of the state’s transportation department, the State Police and the legislation, who all have to be on the same page.
“We know there are safety concerns with raising the speed limit and it is certainly not the intent to create a dangerous situation,” said Harned. “However, the resolution does say 65 mph as appropriate on limited access sections, and 60 mph on non-limited access sections, except in congested areas with traffic control lights.”
Harned mentioned the traffic lights at both Auburn and Elkton and said he feels the current speed limit of 55 mph in those areas should be lowered to possibly 45 mph. “I certainly don’t like going through there at 55 mph.,” said Harned.
Magistrate Jo Orange, voted no on the resolution along with Magistrate Jack Crossley. Orange said she could not in good conscious vote for the change when the traffic light in her district near Auburn was dangerous enough. “There have already been fatalities at that traffic light and I cannot support an increase,” she said.
Magistrate Russell Poore made the motion to support the change with Magistrate Thomas Bouldin giving the second.
“We can’t penalize the whole area because of a few spots. This will be good for us economically. This county is at a stand still and we need to do something to move forward,” said Poore.
Magistrate Curtis Watkins mentioned industry looks at how much time and manpower it takes to travel as well as fuel costs.
“If a roadway is 55 mph it takes longer and more fuel to get somewhere as opposed to taking a road that is 65 mph,” said Watkins.