The Bradley County Road Committee voted Tuesday to ensure all posted speed limits in the county were made official.
As speed limit signs have not been posted in all areas, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Captain W.G. Campbell said deputies have been enforcing speed limits on signs beside the road that had not been approved by the Bradley County Commission.
Poring over a large list the county roads and the speed limits, committee members discussed whether or not the limits seemed adequate for the given locations.
There were 132 roads with limit speeds to 35 mph. Also included were 47 roads at 30 mph and 19 roads that had limits of 45 mph. The majority of the roads on the list — 1,037 — had speed limits of 25 mph.
County Commissioner Terry Caywood said speed limits on some roads need to be re-evaluated, because they may be too low for the roads on which they are posted.
“Twenty-five is really slow,” he said. “There’s some of these that need to be 25, but the ratio is high.”
All the speed limits on the list were taken from currently posted speed limits only, said county engineer Sandra Knight. Additionally, any changes to them would require new studies of each road.
She said roads without speed limit signs require speed limits of 45 mph.
Campbell added the roads within neighborhood subdivisions are 25 mph, unless otherwise posted.
Caywood said there were speed limits on the list of which he had not previously been aware. He inquired if the BCSO was enforcing speed limits that had not been voted on by the County Commission, despite signs having been placed beside roads.
Campbell said yes.
“When an officer sees a sign, that’s what they enforce,” Campbell said.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said the committee was confirming speed limits already in place.
County Road Superintendent Tom Collins said his office often receives requests to change speed limits on certain roads. Though roads in some places may be hilly and accident-prone, he said some still say those roads need to have higher speed limits.
“Most are posted at their speed limit for a reason,” Collins said. “We’re going to have to have the guts to stand up to people.”
Campbell said some roads have speed limits that are too slow, but argued people will often travel at 10 or 15 mph above the speed limit regardless. He said the practice can be especially dangerous when considering the physics of what happens during a crash. He explained “when you double the speed, you quadruple the energy” that is passed from one car to another.
Committee members approved the list to be sent as a recommendation to the Bradley County Commission after discussing the possibility of being able to re-evaluate individual roads, as the need arises.
The Commission will have to approve the list during a regular voting session for it to be made official.
The committee also discussed some county road matters needing discussion closer to the start of the new fiscal year by the county’s finance committee.