Franklin County Commission

The Franklin County Commission on Tuesday held a public hearing regarding the speed limit on unpaved roads in unincorporated portions of the county.

According to county documents, “It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a vehicle at a speed in excess of 30 miles-per-hour on any unpaved, gravel road in the unincorporated County of Franklin, Missouri”

The proposed speed limit will be only on roads without an existing posted speed limit.

Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said he doesn’t believe there have been any speed restrictions for unpaved roads on the books and the county feels the state speed limit for unpaved roads was a bit high.

“Re-evaluating all of the county roads has been in the works for months,” Brinker said. “This is just the first time we’ve been able to schedule a public hearing.”

The commission will take any and all information and testimony received at the hearing and make its final decision on the 30 mph speed limit in the form of a commission order at a future meeting.

Process

The Franklin County Highway Department was tasked with reviewing the speed limits on all roads maintained by the county in September 2018.

At that time, County Counselor Mark Piontek could not find any statute that shows a default speed limit on roads without a posted speed limit.

Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said he has looked at the speed limits on both hard and soft surface county roads.

“They are everywhere and all over the place,” he said. “The traffic codes for Franklin County need to be reassessed.”

Hinson added some of the current codes include 40 mph speed limits on half-mile, dead-end gravel roads.

“There is no way those roads should be 40 mph,” he said. “The speed limits should be standard and systematic.”

Increases

In mid-August 2019, speed limits on 47 roads throughout Franklin County were increased following assessments. 

Then Franklin County Highway Administrator Ron Williams said roads with speed limits ending with a five were targeted.

In all, 25 roads increased in speed from 35 mph to 40 mph and Ridge Road increased from 20 mph to 40 mph.

Seventeen county roads increased in speed from 25 mph to 30 mph and five additional roads increased from 15 mph to 20 mph.

Decreases

In October of last year, more than 50 roads had the speed reduced by five to 10 miles per hour. 

Half of the speed reductions were on roads where the current limit was 25 miles per hour. The new limit is now 20 miles per hour. 

Five county road had the speed limits lowered from 30 to 20 and 10 had the speed limit lowered from 35 to 30. 

The commission also lowered the speed limit on 10 roads from 40 to 30 miles per hour.

Copies of the new speed limits were sent to Laurie Ruether, clerk of the municipal court; Billy Eckelkamp, municipal court prosecutor; and Franklin County Sheriff Steven Pelton for dissemination to his deputies who patrol the affected roads.