MoDOT monitors speed limits

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COLUMBIA - Speed limits along Providence Road may soon change, depending on the results of MoDOT’s upcoming speed study.

Central District traffic engineer Trent Brooks said MoDOT plans to evaluate the existing speed limit along Providence Road beginning later this week. The speed study will monitor drivers' speeds on Providence Road heading southbound, from Stadium Boulevard to the intersection of Old Plank Road and Route K.

Right now, the speed limit is set at 50 mph near Stadium, and increases to 55 mph as Providence continues southbound. However, these limits may change based on MoDOT’s multi-week study.

Brooks said Columbia’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission approached MoDOT to evaluate this segment of Providence because of previous pedestrian and vehicle collisions, resulting in injuries and fatalities in the area.

The study will consider a variety of factors when evaluating whether to alter the existing speed limits.

“We look at the access to and from the road, we look at the crash history that has happened along the road and we look at the presence of pedestrians or bikes,” Brooks said.

He said MoDOT will collect the data by placing devices that monitor speed on the pavement, in combination with radar similar to what law enforcement would use.

Brooks said the study will ideally span a series of “typical” days to best re-evaluate the speed limits.

“There will be students coming and going to class, the Columbia Public Schools are in session,” Brooks said. “We’ll be looking at those sort of days that would be a typical day, not some sort of event going on.”

He said he anticipates MoDOT will present the data to the city around October 1.

“If we determine that something does need to be changed we’ll work with the City of Columbia on making that change,” Brooks said. “The city would want to pass an ordinance that their law officers could then enforce whatever the new speed limit would be.”

Columbia driver Katelyn Pasley said she would not be surprised if MoDOT suggests altering the speed limits.

“I think 55 is a safe speed, but I can understand because of the nearby schools and residential areas as to why it would change,” Pasley said.

Rock Bridge Elementary, the Apple School and Rock Bridge Animal Hospital are stationed at the intersection of Old Plank Road and Route K. Pasley, who works as a kennel technician intern at the hospital, said the reduced speed could provide a safer environment.

“I think they’d probably go down to 45 mph to match the rest of the speeds in town,” she said.

While no speed limit changes are guaranteed for South Providence Road, Brooks said the MoDOT speed study is a proactive way to track whether an adjusted speed limit is necessary for increased residential growth and driver activity in the area. 

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