Highway 18 speed limit will remain unchanged

by Marianne Gasaway

The 45 mph speed limit on U.S. Highway 18 through Clear Lake will remain, despite a review by the Iowa Department of Transportation.  

Clear Lake City Councilman Gary Hugi requested a review of the posted speed limit late last year, saying he felt the speed should be reduced due to increased development and business along the stretch between Interstate 35 and Eagle Avenue.

City Administrator Scott Flory reported the results of a DOT study of the area at a recent City Council meeting.  

The recommendation was at odds with Hugi’s hope for a decrease.  Instead, the DOT suggested the speed limit by raised from 45 to 50.  

Flory said the DOT study showed the area under study has a below-average crash rate when compared to other highways in cities of similar size.  

“I think we were at 197.5. The state average was like 263, so quite a bit lower than what the state average was for crashes, 100 million vehicle miles traveled is how they refer to that,” explained Flory.  He added that the DOT sets speed limits based on the 85th percentile. According to the report, the 85th percentile was 51 miles per hour; the average speed was 47.

Council members decided to keep the speed limit at 45 mph.

Comprehensive plan

In other business May 16, the Council approved participation in developing a joint comprehensive plan with Mason City and Cerro Gordo County.  The three entities will enter into a contract with RDG Planning and Design to develop individualized plans.  Clear Lake will pay 99,000 for the work, Mason City $135,000 and the county $56,000.  

Flory explained RDG’s process will involve citizen engagement through town hall meetings and digital media, addressing topics such as housing, transportation and other community planning issues. 

Alley project

The Council also approved a professional services agreement with Veenstra & Kimm to address improvements needed on the east-west alley in the 700 block of Buddy Holly Place between Buddy Holly Place and North 3rd Street.  

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