City of Exeter moving its speed limit signs

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

MoDOT suggests change to provide consistency, reduce confusion

By rearranging posted speed limit signs, the city of Exeter is planning to make a portion of Highway 76/86, within the city limits, 35 miles per hour.

The reason, according to Randy Morris, Joplin-based senior traffic study specialist with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), is due to inconsistencies with differing posted speed limits within the 25 miles per hour flashing school zone signs as drivers are approaching the city limits from the east and the west.

"We're working on a plan MoDOT suggested," said Myrna Eisenbraun, city clerk. "Part of it is 45 miles per hour, part 35 miles per hour, and they said it needed to be consistent from city limit to city limit, east to west, so we passed that ordinance to satisfy MoDOT.

"[Morris] talked with the mayor about it. The 35 miles per hour would apply, except of course when school lights are flashing and its 25 miles per hour. So, it's just within the corporate limits of the city. They go around and check things like that and this was their suggestion to us to be more consistent."

Morris said the issue was discovered when the school's flashing signal lights were being adjusted.

"About a year ago, our signal guys were there to adjust timing for the school flashers and noticed the speed limit signs were not appropriate for their flashers," Morris said. "It's what we had in several other cities where I had to move the signs outside the flashers. When the signs are on and you have speed limit signs [showing different speed limits] between the flashers, then you have a conflict.

"So what I had done is gone in last year and asked to clean that up. Our signal pole guys adjust the timing on those flashers. When the school asks for it, they'll contact us and we'll go out and change it if their school day changes. It keeps them out of a lawsuit."

Morris said along with the stated reasons for changing the signs, making the change could help law enforcement by reducing the potential for disputes with ticketing.

"I think if you were trying to ticket someone when the flashers were on it would be hard to defend in court," he said. "You want to be proactive and clean those things up so people from out of town don't get confused and think the city's considered a speed trap."

Morris said on the east end of the city limits, the speed limit goes to 45 miles per hour, continuing at that limit even 
past the flasher.

"It doesn't change to 35 miles per hour until you're just inside the flasher," he said. "If you look back the other way, as you're going east, it picks up to 45 miles per hour as you're going through the flashers. So, we want to move the 35 miles per hour sign outside the flashers 
on both sides.

"Maybe we could leave the 45 miles per hour on the west end out to the city limit, but we'll have to discuss that in further detail. I want to revisit that with them."

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