Mayor calls for speed limit study on Hwy. 7
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to research decreasing the speed limit on Highway 7 near M-31 on the west side of Alta after a request from Mayor Al Clark. He contacted a DOT representative following the July Alta city council meeting where the issue was brought up by Dr. Keith Geyer who lives near Highway 7 and M-31.
“I think it’s dangerous there. They should lower the speed limit,” Geyer said. He has discussed this issue in the past with former city administration. He lives near the area in question where he believes it is dangerous to pull out onto Highway 7, saying that when a driver is facing the stop sign at Highway 7 and M-31, it is difficult to see when another vehicle is coming due to the crest of a hill. “I think it ought to be reduced to 45 in the city limits,” he said. Currently the speed limits go from 55 to 45 to 30 through the city corridor.
Additionally, Geyer worries about the safety of school children with the increased number of school busses driving through Alta as a result of the Alta-Aurelia school districts merging in 2018.
Clark said this has been an ongoing concern of Geyer’s which prompted Clark to contact the DOT which oversees speed limit changes. Both safety and business need to be considered, Clark said. The DOT official he spoke to said that a possible speed limit decrease from 55 outside of Alta, the area in question being approximately 1/4 mile west of the M-31 junction, could shift the speed limit through the city corridor on Highway 7 from 30 to 35 mph which could have negative repercussions. If that area increased to 35 mph, it could be a safety hazard during harvest, a time which brings heavy truck traffic to the grain elevators on Highway 7, and could prevent motorists from stopping at Alta businesses, Clark said. “We don’t want to raise the speed limit through town,” he said. He hopes a resolution can occur without having to raise the speed limit in Alta’s business corridor. In the end, “It’s up to the DOT,” Clark said.