Police 'Seriously' Enforcing Construction Zone Speeding
By Ed Pruneau
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Motorists who don't heed the construction zone speed limit along Highway 100 in Washington risk learning a very expensive lesson. Speeders will pay a minimum $250 fine for exceeding the posted 35 mile an hour construction zone

For example, a man who was stopped this week for driving 58 in the 35-mile zone will be looking at a fine of just under $400, according to Police Chief Ken Hahn.

"People need to be forewarned," said Mayor Dick Stratman. "We're not going to cut anybody any slack.

"That's a construction zone. People need to drive carefully through there and obey the speed limit," Stratman said. "If they get a ticket it's going to be very expensive."

The city recently awarded a contract to Pace Construction Company to widen the highway to five lanes, four through lanes and a center turn lane, and the contractor started preliminary work within the last couple of weeks.

The Phase I construction zone extends from a point 1,200 feet east of South Point Road almost to Highway 47.

"We're taking a team approach to enforcing speed in the construction zone," Hahn said. "We'll be using a radar car and a chase car to pull over speeders."

Hahn said the penalties for speeding in a construction zone are set by state law. The city also has passed an ordinance that mirrors the state law, which means the speeding cases can be handled through the city's municipal court.

So far, Hahn said, officers have written only a "handful" of tickets.

"It's a serious offense. In my opinion, workers in construction zones are in more danger at times than police officers. It is very hazardous work," Hahn remarked.

"We're going to take this very seriously," Hahn noted. "Hopefully people will understand and cooperate by slowing down."

Phase I work on Highway 100 is scheduled to be completed by this November.

Phase II of the project, which will extend east from Washington to a point west of Highway AT, is slated to be constructed from 2008-2010.

The city is partnering with the Missouri Department of Transportation on the cost-sharing project.