Often times when there are road construction projects in or around cities, local officials often ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to get the proper speed limits posted on the newly constructed roads.
There are two speed studies that Wright County is requesting MnDOT to complete – one for Co. Rd. 118 from CSAH 37 in Monticello Township north to the School Boulevard/CSAH 18/CR 118 roundabout in the City of Monticello and CSAH 39 from CSAH 19 to Highway 101 in Otsego. Both roads are in the process of being reconstructed this summer.
The CSAH 39 project is posted at 55 miles per hour until it gets into the City of Otsego and drops to 50 miles per hour once it gets in the city limits near Odean Avenue. Wright County Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins said that the portion in the city may drop the speed limit down to 45 miles per hour when the traffic study is completed. Co. Rd. 118 is currently at 55 miles per hour in Monticello Township and, once it gets in the City of the Monticello, the speed drops to 45 miles per hour. Wright County took over the road in 2019 (formerly Fenning Avenue) and, with the reconstruction coming this year, the plan is to get on the MnDOT’s list of roads requesting a speed study. Because MnDOT conducts speed studies throughout the state, there is list of projects that have already submitted requests that are in front of Wright County’s – a backlog that can take up to one year to get to the top of the list. By submitting the projects now, the anticipation is that the speed study would be conducted in spring of 2022.
Wright County Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins said such studies aren’t unusual and often request a speed limit to be at or lower than what it is currently posted.
“When we get requests from cities, typically it is requesting that the speed limit be lowered,” Hawkins said. “If a speed limit is posted at 45 miles per hour, people will say that everyone is going 50 or 55, so it should be lowered. A lot of times that just makes for more violators because they’ve been used to driving at a higher speed. When you’re in townships on county roads or highways, the speed limit is usually 55 miles per hour and those rarely change.”
The Wright County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Hawkins to request studies for both CSAH 39 and Co. Rd 118.