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County 4 lacks speed limit warnings

Hubbard County Road 4, which is a 20-mile north-south stretch of highway between Park Rapids and Lake George, doesn't have any speed limit signs on it, except a 40 mph zone at Emmaville and a 30 mph zone entering and leaving Lake George.

The 20-mile stretch of highway between Lake George and Park Rapids has no posted speed limits, except to warn motorists to slow down to 40 mph at Emmaville and to notify them they are leaving a 30 mph zone south of Lake George.

Should County Road 4 be better marked?

Hubbard County commissioner Dick Devine questioned just that Wednesday. The retired state patrol trooper and defensive driving instructor said students in his course have asked him why and he couldn't give them an answer.

"People should know the speed limit," said county engineer Dave Olsonawski.

But Devine said when the region caters to tourists from out of the area and out of state, and Highway 71, a similar two-lane highway, is now a pilot project with a 60 mph speedway, how much should the motoring public be presumed to know, he asked.

"We were challenged in court about that one time," said Hubbard County Sheriff Frank Homer.

"In Lake George coming south it says 30 mph, of course, but when you get out of Lake George it says something like 'end speed limit' or 'end speed zone' but it doesn't give you a new speed limit."

Homer said he's heard some complaints about the lack of signs.

I remember pulling someone over on 4 one time and their argument was there's no speed limit. But I told them, 'You were in driver's ed. If a roadway is not posted, what is the assumed speed limit?"

"We haven't put it up there for that simple reason," Olsonawski said.

"We went to the Highway Department in reference to signs and that was the explanation given back to us," Homer agreed.

"Their thought was 'we've got it posted in the areas where they need to slow down but we don't necessarily have to post it in the areas where it is a common speed.'"

Olsonawski said he might consider putting some speed limit signs along the highway "if it becomes an issue, but I've never heard a request."

"Who drives 55 anymore?" questioned county commissioner Cal Johannsen, a retired county deputy.

It seems very few people. The traffic up and down County Road 4 is usually moving at speeds ranging from 60-65 mph.

But the motorist who challenged her speeding violation lost her case, Homer said.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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