Town Asks for Lower Speed Limit

The Swansboro Board of Commissioners last night unanimously approved a resolution asking the state Department of Transportation to consider lowering the speed limit on western end of Corbett Avenue to 35 mph, from the current 45 mph.

In an otherwise uneventful meeting, we also approved an annexation petition from the owners of the new Moore’s barbecue restaurant and approved a permit to allow Swansboro High School to use town equipment and services for a marching band competition at the school.

The resolution starts the process of possibly lowering the speed limit on about 1,000 feet of Corbett, from the State Employees Credit Union to the start of the existing 35 mph zone. The road is a state-owned highway, N.C. 24, and only DOT can change the speed limit.

The agency studied how fast vehicles are traveling on that section of highway and found that 85 percent are moving at speeds close to 45 mph. DOT uses that 85th percentile to insure posted speed limits aren’t artificially low. I’m certainly no expert in these matters but I have to question a policy that seems to define the safe speed as what most drivers say it is. Had 85 percent of them been doing 57 mph, instead of 47 mph, would DOT raise the speed limit?

That end of Corbett is rapidly developing. A new intersection with a light is planned at Norris Road and the Walmart driveway. While current conditions may support DOT’s overly technical position, reality may soon dictate otherwise. Ken Jackson, our police chief, told us the speed limit should be lowered. That sealed it for me.

DOT said it would further consider the request if the board passed a resolution asking for the lower speed limit and guaranteeing that our police would enforce it.

A special-events application from Saltwater Grill for a beer garden during the Mullet Festival was removed from the agenda after our town attorney advised us that no permit was needed. The beer would be served on private property, in the parking lot at the foot of Church Street where the food vendors have set up for decades, and would not require town services. Thus, said our lawyer, no town permit is needed.

Author: Frank Tursi

Author, Journalist and mayor pro temp of Swansboro, NC

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