Some speed limit decreases are being considered as part of the Highway 75 redesign in Sioux Center.
City staff and Trent Bruce of DGR Engineering shared speed limit recommendations to include in the design of Highway 75 with the City Council this week. These recommended speed zones will help shape roadway design and will need Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) approval. If approved, the changes will go into effect when the roadway is reconstructed.
Staff and engineers recommend a speed limit of 45 mph from 20th Street South to the 16th Street South stoplight and 35 mph from 16th to 9th Street South. These both represent slight decreases and will help calm traffic in this area, including at the 16th Street South stoplight pedestrian crossings.
The existing 35 mph speed zone from 9th to 2nd Street South would remain the same.
The 30 mph zone, which begins at 2nd Street South, is proposed to be extended beyond where it currently ends near Fire Station #1. The proposal would extend it just beyond the 7th Street North stoplight near Casey’s. This extended 30 mph zone would now include Central Park and pedestrian crossings at the 7th Street stoplight as well as the downtown and many major pedestrian crosswalks.
“We feel like this is a good opportunity to address some of the other things we’re trying to do as part of this reconstruction project – address pedestrian safety and crossings and reduce some of the traffic accident impacts by slowing that speed down,” Bruce noted.
Speed limits impact right of way design. In general, a higher posted speed limit requires larger right of way. Bruce noted that, along with providing a traffic calming effect, the slight decrease in speed limit from 16th to 9th Street South allows engineers to help decrease the amount of right of way needed in this segment according to DOT requirements.
A drawing of the proposed speed limit zones is available here.
The DOT has committed more than $20 million in its five-year improvement plan to address needs on Sioux Center’s main roadway: removing the aging pavement, replacing it with an enhanced four-lane roadway, adding safety features and updating sidewalks.
Sioux Center staff has begun to meet with the DOT on preliminary design. Construction is set for 2023 and 2024, with a final design and right of way acquisitions for the project slated for 2022. Sioux Center will partner with the DOT throughout the design and construction.