N.P. Co. Commission approves speed limit increase on two county roads

LEWISTON, ID - A proposed speed limit increase caused some controversy at the Nez Perce County Commission meeting.

Reporter Sophia Miraglio learns why the speed issue came to a screeching halt as the commission handed down a decision.

The difficult task of deciding if two county roads should have increased speeds from 35 to 45 miles per hour fell onto the Nez Perce County Commission.

"We took four county roads that were requested an increase and we did a traffic study on those four roads," said N.P. County Road Department Director, Mark Ridinger. "And out of those four, two of them came back with recommendations to increase the speed limit."

The two roads are 28th Street South of Powers to Tammany Creek Road, along with Lapwai Road at the Lindsay Creek intersection to just west of the entrance to Cougar Ridge.

"We did a traffic count to see what the average speed limits were and what the 85th percentile of those speed limits were," said Ridinger.

The 85th percentile came in at 52 miles per hour, which means that 85% of motorist are already traveling at a higher rate of speed. A statistic for the road department in favor of an increase, however a problem for those living on Lapwai Road.

"If we have a speed limit of 35 and the numbers that Mark just gave us now, how fast are they gonna be traveling if we increase the speed limit," said resident Doris Kaufman.

This bike and walk path go all the way up Lapwai Road. And one of the biggest concerns was for safety of children and adults who use this path for recreational use.

"They go down play next to the creek and on the bike path and it's scary when you have your kids down there but to increase the speed limit like that more people at risk," said resident Jason Kaufman.

The commission listened to testimony after testimony.

"Lets do so more consideration, lets go out and look at the entries out there, lets go out and look at the blind spots, blind spots," said resident Cletus Kaufman.

However no more consideration was needed, and the resolution passed unanimously

According to Nez Perce County Prosecutor, Nance Ceccarelli, the commission has no liability for the increased speed limit because a factual study has been done.