The Ellis County Commission on Monday approved installing signs to help control traffic in two rural areas of the county where vehicle volume and speeds have caused concern.
Residents in Catharine have complained about the speed of northbound traffic at the intersection of 305th Avenue and St. Alphonsus Street. A traffic study was conducted by Driggs Design Group of Hays, and commissioners gave the OK for a yield sign to be placed in that location as recommended.
“A yield sign seems a very simple fix at this point, and let’s hope it does fix the problem,” Commission Chairperson Barbara Wasinger said.
The cost of the new sign is estimated at less than $50. The intersection currently is uncontrolled.
If a yield sign does not prove sufficient to address residents’ concerns, a 30 mph speed zone could be created along the section of road, enforced by the county sheriff’s office.
The traffic study found northbound traffic on the roadway traveled approximately 10 mph faster than vehicles traveling west or southbound. During traffic counts conducted in June, a total of 38 vehicles were clocked at speeds greater than 30 mph.
A 30 mph speed zone also will be enacted in the Suburban Estates development just north of Old U.S. Highway 40 on 280th Avenue near the county’s public works shop. Two roads running east/west through that development — Hickok and Buffalo avenues — do not have posted speed limits signs, meaning the legal limit defaults to 55 mph, said Bill Ring, director of public works.
As that area has seen an increasing number of homes and heavy construction traffic, residents have shared concerns about the high rate of speed.
The speed limit in that area on 280th Avenue already is 30 mph, but another sign will be posted to clarify the endpoint of the reduced travel speed on that road. The cost of sign installation is estimated at less than $100. A traffic study also was conducted for the neighborhood.
There are no accident reports in the last three years for either area where traffic concerns were discussed, according to the Driggs Design Group traffic studies.
In other business, Wasinger repeated a request for commissioner Marcy McClelland to clarify her concerns regarding the use of private septic systems in rural development. The county is involved in an ongoing lawsuit regarding a plat for a residential subdivision that was denied approval by the commission.
McClelland late last year voted against the plat for a proposed Blue Sky Acres subdivision south of town, citing concerns about possible septic tank contamination.
“I cannot discuss that because it is in litigation,” McClelland said in response to Wasinger’s question. “That subject is in litigation. It can’t be discussed.”
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• Commissioners gave consensus for planned renovations to move forward at a newly acquired county health center building on Canterbury Drive. The county had budgeted $500,000 for the real estate purchase and renovations; approximately $300,000 remains for building updates, County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes said.
• The commission also approved a requested road vacation for two unused sections of road in the Davis Industrial Subdivision.