Petitioners seek to keep 65 mph limit on Hwy 13

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Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing a speed limit change on Colorado Highway 13.

The Colorado State Patrol has recommended lowering the nighttime speed limit on the stretch of highway between Craig and Meeker from 65 mph to 55 mph.

"If they get their way here, then they will move on to (U.S.) High---way 40 and etc.," the petition reads.

Petitions are at most of Craig's gas stations as well as MJK Sales and Feed. In the past several days, MJK customers have filled four petition sheets with their signatures. Gas-station attendants re-ported their customers had completed several sheets, as well.

No one at the stores knew who was circulating the petition.

As a public agency, the Colorado De-partment of Transportation ac-c--epts public comment, CDOT Traffic Engineer Jim Nall said. But the decision to change the speed lim-it would be based on engineering research.

"We certainly base a lot of our decisions on public input, but this is an engineering decision," Nall said.

When studying a specific location to determine whether a posted speed is accurate, CDOT officials take into consideration enforcement of a speed limit, a road's surrounding development and its accident history, among other factors.

"What if we had 1,000 people say we want it raised to 95? It still has to be based on an engineering decision, " Nall said.

Traffic and speed studies must be completed before speed limits can be changed for state roadways, Charles Meyer, regional transportation operations engineer for CDOT, said. The studies can take a year to complete.

Meyer said he's not aware that a formal study has been proposed for Colorado 13, though the issue has been discussed.

Nall didn't know about any study, either. He said it was unu-sual to have so much public com-m-ent before a study had been conducted.

The speed limit on Colorado 13 was increased about five years ago, Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Gary Meirose said.

Tom Godfrey used to live south of Craig, so he drove on the road often. He said he never understood why the state raised the speed limit in the first place.

"I know in that canyon between here and Hamilton there's been a lot of accidents," Godfrey said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdaily-press.com.

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