APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Drivers on a busy highway just east of Appleton are seeing warning signs about a speed reduction starting next Monday, July 15.
Sign boards warn of the pending speed limit change on part of Highway CE (WBAY photo)
County Highway CE will go from 55 mph to 45 mph between a section just east of Railroad Street to County Highway HH, also known as DeBruin Road.
As a main highway connecting drivers between Appleton and Kaukauna, County Highway CE is always busy, but the speed isn't as consistent with posted limits ranging from 45 mph to 55 miles per hour.
That's led to a high number of crashes.
"We been looking at different safety scenarios out there, looking at different intersections, and one of the things that kept coming up was lower the speed and make it consistent because people didn't understand that, and so that's what we're going to do here. We did several studies on it, and it makes sense," said Outagamie County Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber.
Temporary signs warning drivers of the pending change are now up in several locations.
Lt. Mark Wery of the Fox Valley Metro Police Department says much of the danger comes with cross traffic and those attempting to turn on or off the highway.
"If you're coming from a complete stop to try to either merge into that traffic that's doing 55 -- and let's be honest, above 55 miles an hour, sometimes 65 or faster, which has been noted out there in that area of CE -- it can be very difficult and unsafe," added Wery.
Area law enforcement agencies have already started to educate drivers about the speed reduction through social media, but even after the permanent signs go up, that learning curve is expected to continue for a couple of weeks.
"It's going to take some time, and we certainly understand that," said Lt. Wery.
Steingraber replied, "By going 45, plus or minus a couple miles per hour, we think it's going to be safer for everybody using the highway."