Highway Commissioner Mike Hoefs gave an update to the Infrastructure committee after state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials came to Alpha with a preposition about the speed limit on State Highway 70.
“They want to raise the speed from 40 (mph) and make it 55 (mph) all the way through that section,” Hoefs said.
Members of the committee were not happy with the proposition. One member said there would be a lot more accidents in the turn lane as people exit highway 70 to turn into the Burnett Dairy Cooperative and Nelson Primary School.
Hoefs reported that local fire departments along with Sheriff Tracy Finch, officials from the dairy and Wood River board members attended the meeting. He said the DOT proposal was in response to Hoefs asking them to move the “start slowing down speed signs on 70.”
Along with raising the speed limit of the section of Highway 70 in Alpha, the DOT also proposed eliminating some entrances to the dairy.
He said the DOT was met with a lot of backlash from the people at the meeting. When Hoefs was done explaining the meeting and what the DOT is proposing committee members had a number of questions.
Jeremy Gronski said he thinks it would be dangerous to keep the highway at 55 mph.
“It’s already dangerous on the road when it slows down to 40 (mph) around the dairy,” Gronski said. “I’ve been driving on that road and a pickup comes flying up behind you on 70. I’ve even been passed by those pickups flying around and pass me on the gravel on the shoulder.”
Hoefs said the DOT is looking for “buy in” from the locals in the area and since that did not happen in December.
The DOT solution is to put a turning lane in the middle of the road similar to in the village of Siren on State Highway 35/70 from the traffic light to the round about.
Hoefs believes the DOT will come back to this issue in about three months to see what the public thinks.