Speed limit reduction out as Outagamie County asks DOT to study I-41

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A proposal to lower the speed limit on a stretch of I-41 in the Fox Valley will not be considered at this time, but Outagamie County still wants answers on how to make it safer for drivers.

On Tuesday, the Outagamie County Board passed a resolution requesting the Wisconsin Department of Transportation conduct an engineering and traffic investigation.

Board members amended the original resolution that called for reducing the speed limit from 70 mph to 65 or 55 mph.

"In the last two or three years there have been over 5,000 response calls by local law enforcement along that stretch of highway," says Thomas Nelson, Outagamie County Executive. "One of the problems we have here-- well first of all there's safety-- but another issue is the drain on local taxpayer resources."

The board wants the DOT to conduct the study on I-41 between the County BB exit in Grand Chute and the County J exit in Kaukauna.

"This is to have the Department of Transportation take a look at it and see whether or not there's safety issues out there right now," said Don Degroot, County Board. "And can we do anything about those issues?"

There was healthy opposition from drivers about changing the speed limit.

"Asking to slow down the speed when you think about the fact that there's a lot of calls, but they could be due to ice, deer, you know, distracted driving, drunk driving, Packer traffic. And so to automatically assume that you're gonna solve all the problems by slowing the speed down didn't seem like the right thing to do," says Chris Garstka, Grand Chute resident.

Garstka says he's pleased with Tuesday's outcome.

"I think that's a great thing that they listened and they said let's use the experts to understand. Make a study and then let the experts provide feedback and let's see what they tell us to do," Garstka says.

In August, Gov. Scott Walker ordered the DOT to conduct an interstate expansion study between Appleton and De Pere.

Nelson says an interstate expansion project would take longer than a decade to complete.