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County Board talks speed limits

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Sargent Road

Gage County officials discussed on Wednesday if a stretch of Sargent Road should have a speed limit of 35 or 5o mph. 

Gage County officials discussed the speed limit on a county road Wednesday after hearing comments from the public.

The Board of Supervisors discussed Sargent Road from Highway 77 to First Road, a stretch that runs east to west just north of Beatrice.

During the meeting, the board discussed if the speed limit should be 35 mph or 50 mph.

“There are two 35 mph speed limit sings on Sargent currently,” board chairman Erich Tiemann said. “They’ve evidently been there for several years and it appears they are there illegally. I think there was one on one side of the mile and at some point in time the guys thought maybe they should put one on the other side.”

Tiemann said there’s no record of a resolution being passed to make the speed limit 35 in the area, and the posted limit is seldom followed.

Gage County Highway Superintendent Mark Kuhnke said the latest traffic study, conducted in 2019, showed an average speed of around 53 mph and no recorded accidents at Sargent Road and 13th Street, the main intersection in question, for at least a decade.

Kuhnke added that if a study was done now, it’s unlikely a 35 mph speed limit would be recommended.

Tiemann said the topic was brought up in part because an event venue, Red Farm Barn, is located on the stretch of road.

“With a couple decades showing that it’s not an issue, the main issue here is there was an event place built on that road,” he said. “They take a lot of dust. We’ve also done a lot of ditching there.”

Board member Gary Lytle suggested making an exception to lower the speed limit on one road could result in more requests and less consistency throughout the county, while board member Don Schuller supported looking closer at lowering the speed limit.

“I don’t think looking at one specific spot means we’re going to lower the speed limits all over,” he said. “That’s getting a little bit carried away. It’s a request from the public to consider lowering the speed limit because of safety issues.”

The board took no action following the discussion.

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