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Signage Sought For Road Near Rockport Addn.

By Staff | Jul 31, 2008

The safety of Emmetsburg residents was the subject of discussion during the July 29, meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors. David Rouse, developer of the Rockport addition in north Emmetsburg, approached the Supervisors with a request for speed limit and Jake brake signage on 460th Ave. (N40).

Rouse explained that approximately 15 houses in the Rockport addition currently have vehicles that pull out onto 460th Ave. with more vehicles entering the roadway from 350th St. to the north.

“That’s the only street in town that you can drive as fast as you want on, basically. It’s kind of bothersome because–hopefully there’s going to be more houses at Rockport–the speed limit in front is 55 mph,” said David Rouse. “And every other entrance into town has signs that say ‘Reduced Speed Ahead’ and the speed limit drops down to 45 mph and 35 mph.”

Rouse explained that the only speed limit sign, in addition to the 55 mph sign near Rockport, is a 25 mph sign approaching the curve to the north of the golf course.

“What I’d like to do is put speed limit signs by the ‘Emmetsburg’ sign to start cutting down on the speed,” said Rouse. “From a safety and liability standpoint, I really feel it’s past time to put a speed limit signs coming in from the north on 460th Ave. If something happens, I want people to know that I brought it up and I’ll have a clear conscience,” said Rouse.

Rouse noted that he would also like to see an “Engine Brake” sign in place, as well.

“Do you get quite a few of the residents there complain about it?” asked Supervisor Keith Wirtz.

“Yes, I do,” Rouse said. “They can’t bicycle on it because of the traffic.”

“With the new road [near Depew], I’m sure a lot of your truck traffic will go down,” Wirtz noted.

Wirtz wondered if Rockport was in the city limits.

“It is, and the county and the city would have to have a joint resolution to do something like regulatory signs. I would recommend Dave go to the city,” said Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz.

Fantz noted, “I know why you’re doing it, you say you want a clear conscience if something should happen out there. But there is the rule of ‘unintended consequences’.”

The engineer explained that speed limits are set by doing a speed study and setting the limit at the 85th percentile–what the majority of people are driving.

“The safety problem comes, not necessarily in the speed of the road, but the difference in speed. That’s where you start to have accidents,” said Fantz.

“I understand what you’re saying, but disagree with it. That road is a part of the city and it should have signs,” said Supervisor Jerry Hofstad. “There are enough people there now that they warrant some security, too.”

“I have to have a clear conscience, too, and I think it will increase the accident rate,” said Fantz. “It will make Dave happy, and it will make people happy, but it will probably increase the accident rate. That’s my professional opinion, but it’s up to you.”

Hofstad then made a motion recommending that the City of Emmetsburg draw up a joint resolution to put speed limit and engine brake signage on 460th St. near Rockport. The motion unanimously passed.