The speed limit on a major road through Fort Dodge has been lowered to help control traffic and keep both drivers and construction workers safe.
Drivers traveling on Fifth Avenue South are not allowed to travel more than 25 miles per hour between South 32nd Street and South 42nd Street.
The speed reduction – from 35 to 25 miles per hour – applies to the construction zone that has temporarily reduced four lanes to two.
It is in response to speeding that has occurred there since construction began.
“During the first week of construction, when crews were out removing patches of concrete that had deteriorated and other curb and gutter work, a couple of the construction workers got close to being clipped by cars,” Tony Trotter, city project engineer, said. “I myself saw the high speeds firsthand when I was looking into a manhole that was off by the side of the road. I was amazed by the speed of traffic going by me.”
At the request of Fort Dodge Asphalt, the speed limit was lowered.
The primary concern for city officials is safety, according to Police Chief Tim Carmody.
“If they don’t reduce their speed, either they will get hurt or they will unintentionally hurt a construction worker trying to do his or her job or another motorist,” Carmody said.
Barricades have been installed, as well as new signs warning drivers that they are entering the construction zone. They also warn drivers that the speed limit is reduced.
Officers will also be aggressively enforcing the speed limit.
Under Iowa law, fines for speeding in construction zones are doubled.
“We don’t want to have to write tickets,” Carmody said, “but for the safety of the employees and the motoring public, we will enforce the law.”
Because a large number of construction projects are planned throughout the city over the next several months, Trotter said it’s important for all drivers to pay attention to their speeds.
“These construction projects will last until the fall,” he said. “This won’t end until winter hits.”
It’s also possible that in the future speed limits will be reduced in other construction zones.
Carmody said the cooperation of motorists is very important.
“We need their patience and cooperation to get this done as efficiently and safely as possible,” he said.