North Dakota House approves higher speeds on county roads

| Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lawmakers in the North Dakota House have signed off on a bill that would let drivers travel a little faster on county roads.

Under current state law, drivers can legally travel up to 55 mph on paved roads that do not have speed limit signs.

A measure offered by Rep. Bill Kretschmar, R-Venturia, would raise the limit on paved, unposted county roads to 60 mph.

The bill – HB1299 – passed the House Jan. 26 by a vote of 84-4.

Kretschmar told lawmakers during a recent hearing on the bill he often drives a McIntosh County road between Lehr and Ashley near his home. He said the road is at least as good as two nearby state highways, The Forum reported.

Wade Williams, a spokesman for the North Dakota Association of Counties, said the proposal would make road upkeep more expensive. Curved stretches that need lower speed limits would have to be posted, he said.

“You’re looking at a lot of signs, that the counties would have to install at $150 a sign,” he said.

Also, because the roads were designed for slower speeds, counties also could be liable for some accidents, Williams warned.

HB1299 has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

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