PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Placerville’s mayor is pushing back against a Caltrans’ plan to raise the speed limit on Highway 50 through the city.
The current speed limit is posted as 40 miles per hour, but Caltrans wants to increase it to 50 miles per hour.
“We’re going to be fighting this with Caltrans,” Placerville Mayor Michael Saragosa said. “[It’s] a really bad idea.”
Highway 50 doubles as Placerville’s main corridor and includes three sets of stoplights.
“We have crosswalks, it’s a functioning town, you have kids going across going from the high school,” Saragosa said.
Julie Sandum lives in Placerville and has a view of Highway 50 from her front yard. She also questions the decision to increase the speed limit.
“Do I think it will make it better?” Sandum said. “No. I think it will probably make it worse.”
A Caltrans survey found the current 40 miles per hour speed limit posting is a problem because vehicles are averaging speeds of more than 50 miles an hour.
According to the survey: “[Some drivers] are purposely slowing down to try to follow the posted speed limit, causing a speed differential and conflict with other vehicles.”
The survey shows rear-end collisions account for half of the crashes, and this stretch of highway has a higher accident rate than the statewide average.
To Mayor Saragosa, it doesn’t add up.
“And they’re saying, well let’s just increase the speed,” Saragosa said. “And I can tell you that that to us, from everything that we’ve seen from our staff, says that’s absolutely the worst thing you could possibly do.”
The city of Placerville has set up a town hall on Feb. 25 to give input to the Caltrans.
If they go through with the plan, Caltrans could change the signs by the end of March