Speed limit changes proposed in Westend
Commissioners seek public comment at Jan. 29 meeting
January 23, 2020
By Rick Nelson
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is considering lowering speed limits on SR 4 through Rosburg and Grays River.
The department is also considering modifications to the speed limits on SR 409 as it comes off the Puget Island bridge.
The county board of commissioners on Tuesday heard a request to send an email to WSDOT agreeing to support lowering the speed limit to 45 mile per hour through Grays River and also establish a no passing zone there.
After much discussion, the board agreed to delay a vote on the recommendation until they've had a chance for the public to comment at a reconvened meeting Jan. 29, 6 p.m., at Johnson Park in Rosburg. Once a quarter, the board of commissioners adjourn their regular Tuesday meetings and reconvene at Johnson Park to give Westend residents a chance to attend a board meeting in that area.
County Engineer Paul Lacy recommended the board authorize the email to WSDOT endorsing the speed limit change, a desire expressed by the public at a September, 2018, meeting at Johnson Park.
"I brought this up with WSDOT, and they are considering lowering the regulatory speed limit to 45 mph through Grays River and making part of that section a no passing zone," he told the commission. "I would like concurrence from the board of commissioners that they support this action before I send the email of support."
Currently, the regulatory speed limit on SR 4 through Grays River is 55 miles per hour. There are yellow advisory signs on each side of town suggesting lower speed because of curves and potential congestion, but those suggested speeds are only advisory and not regulated speed limits, said Lacy and Commissioner Gene Strong.
A WSDOT traffic safety engineer conducted a speed study of the area and recommended lowering the speed limit essentially between the Hull Crrek bridge on SR 4 through town and the curves on the west side, just over one half mile. The no passing zone would be from the bridge to the Loop Road intersection.
Comments were mixed when commissioners discussed the issue Tuesday.
Several Westend residents supported the suggestion. Others suggested lowering the speed limit through Rosburg.
However, Commissioners Strong and Dan Cothren said they received phone calls from people opposed to lowering the speed limit in Grays River
In the end, the board followed Commissioner Mike Backman's suggestion to hold off on a decision until they give Westend residents a chance to comment.
That chance will come next Wednesday when the board reconvenes their meeting at 6 p.m. in Johnson Park, Rosburg.