By Curt Peterson
Soon, drivers in Killington will have to pay more attention to their speed. At its Sept. 23 meeting the Select Board approved reducing the speed limit on Killington Road from 35 mph to 30 mph and on River Road to 25 mph the whole way — the change is effective after 60 days.
According to Town Manager Michael Ramsey, new speed limit signs have been ordered and will be installed the first week in December.
“It’s the right time to make this change,” said Killington Police Chief Whit Montgomery. “The current 35 limit has been in effect since the road was built. We’re about to enjoy significant development, and the reduced limit will make the road more safe for increased traffic and pedestrians.”
The chief said most locals obey the current limit, and there are only a few who seem to be habitual speeders. Killington attracts lots of visitors who generally obey the local traffic laws, too, he said.
But not all do.
Two drivers were arrested this fall for traveling 80 mph and 75 mph on Killington Road.
“They were both ticketed and fined,” said Montgomery.
Fines are tied to the speed involved. If clocked at 10 mph over the speed limit; the standard ticket is $105 and 2 points; for 15 mph over it’s $151 and 3 point; for 30 mph over it’s $289 and 5 points —anything over 30 is categorized as excessive speed and drivers can be arrested, Montgomery noted.
Montgomery expects a “period of education and adjustment” but said he’s confident the adjustment will come with time.
There are auto accidents on Killington Road, but not an extraordinary number, the chief said.
“There were a few very tragic incidents on the highway this summer,” Montgomery said, referring to four Route 4 fatalities between Killington and Rutland during the summer and fall.
Speeding on the state highway is a problem in Killington.
“One driver was recently cited for driving 99 mph in the Flats,” he said, referring to the portion of Route 4 between River Road and East Mountain Road.
Town Planner Lisa Davis told the Mountain Times making Route 4 safer is a challenge for the town.
“Killington will be seeking a village center designation but that does not automatically come with authority to change any speed limits,” she said. “Once we secure that designation, we hope we can get VTrans to turn a portion of Route 4 over to the town — then the town would have authority to lower speed limits and possibly install ‘traffic calming’ measures, such as speed bumps or pavement narrowing. There are a lot of steps before we get there and certainly no guarantees.”