Island causeway's speed limit may be raised
Antelope: The Davis study will look at effects on cyclists, motorists, safety of the roadway
By Tyler Peterson
The Salt Lake Tribune
FARMINGTON - Davis County commissioners want to know what would happen if they raise the speed limit on the 7.2-mile-long Antelope Island causeway.
Folks eager to get to the Great Salt Lake island and its beaches and buffalo would save 3 minutes - if the limit is bumped, say, from 40 to 55 mph.
But that 3 minutes could make the road less safe and cause motorists to miss noticing nature's bounty, opponents to the plan say.
Commissioners approved a traffic study Tuesday for the two-lane paved road. It would analyze the current 40 mph limit and make sure road signs are proper, according to Tom Smith, director of Davis County Public Works.
"Forty miles an hour really is slow," Smith said. But, he noted, the study will simply put information into commissioners' hands to make a decision.
Right now, the causeway is wide open, and "most people are going quite a bit above the speed limit," Sheriff's Lt. Randy Slagowski said.
"It's so easy to go 70."
The Sheriff's Office helps the state park monitor the road, and the two organizations count fewer than 10 speeding tickets on it this year. They count about one accident and one DUI per year.
Slagowski said most deputies probably wouldn't pull anyone over unless they were driving around 15 mph over the limit.
"I don't think it would hurt to raise [the limit] 10 miles
per hour," he said. "We really haven't had problems with it."
But not everyone is in favor.
"We actually like the speed limit at 40. It seems to work well," said Ron Taylor, the island's manager. "The intent is to get people to slow down from the fast rush, rush, rush of the city . . . so that they have a quality experience."
Safety is also a concern. The causeway is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, especially Boy Scouts and cyclists, Taylor said.
In May, more than 1,200 cyclists rode the 7.2-mile stretch for a single event. He estimates between 50 and 100 ride the causeway daily during the summer.
It's not rare for cars to stop alongside the road to take in the sights, either, he said.
"We are a little concerned because we are a family-oriented place."