Members of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors have approved a reduced speed limit on portions of Middle Hesper and Colonel Taylor roads they believe could help deal with dust and safety issues there.
Dust was a concern raised by some of the residents who live along those roads when Quandahl Family Trust Farm and Wiltgen Construction Company of Calmar asked permission earlier this year to amend their conditional use permit to add limestone crushing to their sand quarry operation located at 1842 Canoe Valley Road.
In June, supervisors approved the permit and directed the county engineer to do a speed study on the roads near the quarry to see if a speed limit would alleviate some of the dust issues.
According to a resolution adopted by the supervisors last week, the Board has determined a 55 miles per hour (MPH) speed limit on the roads is “greater than what is reasonable and proper under the conditions found to exist on the section of roadways.”
The Board decided a 25 mph speed limit is the “reasonable and proper speed limit under the conditions.” The new speed limit becomes effective after signs setting the new speed limit are installed. Winneshiek County Engineer Lee Bjerke expected that would be completed soon.
The speed limit is for the section of Middle Hesper Road from the intersection of 337th Street to the intersection of Canoe Valley Road, Canoe Valley Road from the intersection of Middle Hesper Road to the intersection with Locust Road, and Middle Hesper Road from the intersection of Canoe Valley Road to the intersection withy Colonel Taylor Road.
Bjerke will continue to monitor the section of road to gauge whether the new speed is effective in reducing the safety hazard from fugitive dust or whether he has other suggestions for addressing the concern.
Canoe Valley and Middle Hesper road residents received a letter from the Bjerke last week.
“The Board of Supervisors, county attorney and I have been meeting to try and come up with ways to mitigate the issue while not violating Iowa Code and the rights it allows for road usage,” Bjerke said.
“What we have come up with is a test of implementing a speed limit of 25 mphon these sections of road to see if it makes a difference in the dust generated. I must stress that this is a test/study and may not be permanent. Hopefully this will give us good information to use not only on these roads but others around the county when we have road usage that is similar.”
In his letter, Bjerke said he would “greatly appreciate” feedback during “this experiment.”