North Dakota Senate rejects higher speeds on county roads

| Monday, May 09, 2005

A bill that would have let drivers in North Dakota travel a little faster on county roads has died.

Current state law allows drivers to 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, sought to raise the limit on paved, unposted county roads to 60 mph.

The bill – HB1299 – overwhelmingly passed the House in January but Senators later went the opposite way in voting 44-1 to kill the bill.

Kretschmar told lawmakers during a House hearing on the bill early this year 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 if signed into law, the bill would have made road upkeep more expensive. Curved stretches that need lower speed limits would have to be posted, he said.

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