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How do I go about requesting the speed limit on a road in Wilmington be changed?

Ken Little
StarNews file photo.

StarNews file photo.

Q. Please look into the curve at Masonboro Loop Road and Pine Grove Drive in Wilmington. This is the second time a vehicle has landed in my neighbors’ yard, this time crashing into the bedroom. We need to slow the speed limit down and a guard rail if the curve cannot be adjusted. How do I get the speed limit changed?

A. It depends on the roadway, said Donald Bennett, traffic engineer for the city of Wilmington.

For roadways maintained by the N.C. Department of Transportation, a request can be made by calling 910-341-2000.

N.C. DOT will handle the request “according to their process,” Bennett said.

For roadways maintained by the city, contact the city’s Traffic Engineering office at 910-341-7888.

Bennett provided a link to this map, which will assist in determining which agency is responsible for a particular road. Or go to http://gis.wilmingtonnc.gov/ and click on “Who Maintains My Street?”

And here is a link to a pamphlet that explains NCDOT speed limits.

Here is a link to the current speed limits in Wilmington.

Here’s additional information from NCDOT about state roads:

If no signs are posted, general statute sets speed limits within municipal limits at 35 miles per hour. They can be changed by ordinances enacted by N.C. DOT. Changes, either higher or lower, inside city limits require the agreement of the municipality and N.C. DOT.

If signs are not posted in areas outside municipalities, the speed limit is 55 mph, but motorists are advised to drive “at reasonable and prudent speeds as dictated by driving conditions.”

When the department conducts a speed zone study and recommends a speed limit, it drafts the ordinance and submits it to the State Traffic Engineer’s Office for approval. When it is approved, the Traffic Services Unit installs the appropriate speed limit signs.

When considering a request to lower the speed limit on a particular road, N.C. DOT looks at several criteria, including roadway alignment, sight distance, the weighted average speed, crash history and development.

For any sign to be effective, “it must command the respect of motorists,” according to N.C. DOT.

“That means speed limits must be reasonable and enforced. N.C. DOT is responsible for establishing speed limits, but law enforcement officers have enforcement responsibility,” the agency said.

To get a speed limit changed, contact the local N.C. DOT traffic engineer and request a speed zone study. Changing residential and business development often affects operating speed conditions and may warrant changes in the speed limit.

N.C. DOT does not normally lower speed limits on dead-end roads less than a mile long.


StarNews: Man cited after crashing car into house

Can roads have different speed limits depending on the direction of travel?

How does the city of Wilmington determine speed limits for different neighborhoods?

Why is the speed limit on U.S. 421 55 mph? Why can’t it be faster in certain areas?



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2 Responses to “ How do I go about requesting the speed limit on a road in Wilmington be changed?”

  1. On April 2, 2014 at 7:31 am Joe wrote:

    A speed limit sign is not going to fix anything. I think most people in New Hanover County think speed signs are just a suggestion. They seem heck bent on getting to the next stop light before everyone else. We simply need more enforcement. We need to do what the Germans do, put speed cameras all over the County and your ticket will be in the mail. If need be go to a 24 hour traffic court. The funds from tickets will more that pay for it. Just maybe after a while people in a hurry to get nowhere fast will slow down.

  2. On April 3, 2014 at 8:24 am Billy wrote:

    The speed limit on Masonboro Loop road is fine. The driver who crashed into the house was drunk and speeding. A lower speed limit certainly wouldn’t have done anything to change the outcome here.

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