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Speedsigns needed in Merrill

— The Shutts and Blanche Road loop off 374 has seen too much high-speed traffic, with about 40 locals signing their names to a petition hoping for lowered speed limits there.

It's the second petition in two years, said Merrill resident Shannon Dubray. The first petition saw no action with the town board and seems to have been lost somewhere in the town's files.

The narrow road is closely lined with trees and full of hills, said Dubray.

β€œIt's 55 miles an hour, and that road cannot be,” she said.

Her home's just one of several with young children. Dubray's lived there her whole life, and it's common for her to cross the road to visit friends and family in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, it's also commonplace for her to be scared out of her wits in those crossings. A recent close call had her jumping from the roadway to the safety of her parent's yard.

Ellenburg Supervisor Dave Leonard worried that somebody, especially a child, could be hurt or killed by irresponsible driving. He was very supportive of the effort.

β€œI certainly don't have any problem fighting for them. It's a no-brainer,” he said.

The town board passed a resolution supporting a speed limit change, which then has to be approved by the county highway superintendent and submitted to the State Department of Transportation.

After the DOT get a request, they begin a speed limit study. Factors they review include the layout of the road, the number of homes and driveways there, the road's safety record and the speeds drivers travel the road.

A bill introduced in state government last year would allow towns to set their own speed limits without waiting for a Department of Transportation review. Cities and villages are already able to change speed limits, but towns lack that authority.

The bill didn't pass last year. It passed the state senate again this February, and is currently under review by the transportation committee at the state level.

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