HOWELL – At a recent town council meeting, a resident urged council members to act on a potentially dangerous stretch of roadway on Arnold Boulevard near the Lakewood Township border.
The residential street, which is wedged between Lakewood-Allenwood Road and Ramtown-Greenville Road, is allegedly being used as a main truck route to Lakewood Industrial Park and a nearby recycling facility. It is also the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident in 2011 that injured several people and left a child in critical condition.
According to the resident, 40-ton trucks frequently drive down the roadway and end up in the shoulder because they don’t have enough room to make turns. The speed limit on Arnold Boulevard is currently 35 miles per hour, but the resident feels motorists exceed that.
A traffic study was done in light of these concerns, which the resident said revealed 80 percent of vehicles were driving an average of 50 miles per hour. According to township manager Jeffrey Mayfield, when residents claim speed limits are not being obeyed, a traffic counter and speed measuring device is set up to test the accuracy of the claim. Since the resident’s claims turned out to be true, the speed limit could be in danger of rising.
“Once they identify a certain percentile above the posted speed limit, they are supposed to, by state law, change it to that level,” said Mayfield.
Mayfield also said that the police department has looked into the speed limit and truck turning radius in the metered section of the roadway, and did not feel that any changes were justified based on the data they gathered.
The resident said he brought up similar concerns at a council meeting six months ago, concerned for his own daughter’s safety, who he claims has come 12 inches from being hit by a speeding motorist.
The speed limit has so far not been changed from 35 to 50 miles per hour, and deputy mayor Robert Nicastro said it’s possible to lobby the state Department of Transportation to keep it at 35 should they need to.
“If you want to put that speed limit back up to 50 miles an hour, you’re going to wind up condemning someone to death,” said the resident.
Mayor Theresa Berger asked that the council take some time to review the issue and discuss it again at a later meeting.