Speed humps have proven effective at slowing down speeding motorists, according to a study released Tuesday by Columbia County officials.
Conducted by the county Construction and Maintenance Services Division, the study showed a drastic reduction in speeding incidents on roads with speed humps.
Prior to the installation of 10 speed humps on Broad Oak Drive, off Old Louisville Road, county officials recorded 383 speeding incidents. Following the installation, that figure dropped to just 11.
Similar results were reported on studies conducted on Autumn Trail, Sugarcreek Drive, Long Creek Falls and Spring Lakes Drive.
"It's like having a deputy sitting there 24 hours a day," Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said during a Tuesday work session to discuss the study.
Not only did the speed humps slow down motorists, they also sent many of them to an alternate route.
Following the speed hump installation on Broad Oak Drive, the average daily traffic count fell 31 percent. It fell 17 percent on Autumn Trail, 8 percent on Long Creek Falls and 17 percent on Spring Lakes Drive. The drop in traffic was negligible on Sugarcreek Drive and rose by 6 percent on Jones Creek road.
"They work. The data is right here in front of you," Construction and Maintenance Services Interim Director Matt Schlachter said. "There's no denying it."
The study also tested the decreased response for emergency vehicles traveling over speed humps.
Using a stretch of Lone Oak Road and Broad Oak Drive as the testing ground, it took fire trucks 1:25 longer and ambulances 1:05 longer to traverse the road with speed humps than it did without.
Officials hope to use the study to update ordinances regarding speed hump installation.
A primary concern, said Construction and Maintenance Services Interim Director Matt Schlachter, is covering the cost of installation.
It costs $1,200 to $1,500 to install one speed hump. County officials have budgeted $110,000 for speed hump installation for this fiscal year.
One option proposed by Schlachter was to establish tax districts, similar to street light districts, so the homeowners of the area receiving the speed humps pay for them.
Cross immediately nixed that idea.
"I don't feel like citizens should have to pay for a safety feature," he said.
A funding option to share the costs with property owners also didn't receive a favorable reception by commissioners.
Instead, the county will fund the installation and choose streets to install them on a first-come, first-served basis.
However, commissioners said that if a community was willing to share the cost of installation, then it might move to the top of the list.
Commissioner Scott Dean also wants officials to make a closer examination of which roads are eligible for speed humps.
All it takes for a road to receive speed humps is for a homeowner to complain to county officials about excessive speeding on their road. Traffic engineers then will conduct a study and if a significant number of motorists are speeding on the road, it will qualify for speed humps.
Currently, speed humps are installed only on residential roads.
In some cases, Dean believes some roads, such as Broad Oak Drive, are mislabeled as residential roads when they should be considered collector roads.
Schlachter said he intends to use the commissioners comment and submit an updated policy next month regarding speed humps for their approval.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.