Petition drive works - NDOR agrees to lower speed

Custer County received word early this week that the effort to reduce the speed limit on West Highway 2 coming into Broken Bow was successful. Nebraska Department of Roads Director Monty Fredrickson sent a letter to the Custer County Commissioners stating that changes will be coming to the section of highway beginning at mile marker 276, west of Grassland Veterinary Hospital. The plan is to reduce the speed limit from 65 mph to 55 mph at that mile marker. The plan also calls for the addition of turn lanes, though at this time the exact details of that plan are not available. No-passing zones and a re-striping of certain sections of the highway are also being discussed. The speed limit coming in to Broken Bow on West Highway 2, has been a topic of conversation at community meetings and coffee shops for the past few months. In February, KCNI/KBBN radio, and in particular it’s news director Julie Toline and owner/general manager Dave Birnie, stepped up to the plate and launched an all-out campaign on the speed limit law for a one and a half mile stretch of Highway 2. The campaign, called “Put On The Brakes”, was designed to get the community to be proactive - rather than reactive. With the addition of the college and new businesses on the west edge of Broken Bow, even the city got involved by requesting a reduction of the speed limit coming into town. The local hospital staff and administration also played a very active role in bringing these safety concerns to the attention of the roads department. In the few weeks the radio station ran the petition, more than 1,600 people signed it - many of them sharing their own stories of concerns, close calls or accidents they or someone they know was involved in on that particular stretch of highway. That petition prompted the NDOR to conduct more studies, and ultimately lead to the decision to make some changes. While all the details of the plan to Highway 2 have not yet been announced, suffice it to say the people spoke - and for once, government listened.