UPDATE: Outagamie County Board Defers Vote On Lowering I-41 Speed Limit

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Outagamie County Board Defers Vote On Lowering I-41 Speed Limit

TUESDAY 10/23/2018 8:40 p.m.

The Outagamie County board has voted to amend Resolution 71, thus striking the speed limit clause from the county’s presentation to Wisconsin DOT.


The vote for the amendment was 24-6, while the final vote for the amended resolution was 27-3.

Instead, the county is recommending the DOT take immediate action to improve safety on that stretch of the highway.

Two of the main concerns are safety and money.

County Executive Tom Nelson says in the last two years, local law enforcement agencies have handled almost 5,000 calls on I-41.

He says the state should be handling the accidents.

Tom Nelson, an Outagamie County Executive,

“I just think it’s unfair to look to the taxpayers of Grand Chute, Appleton, Kimberly, Little Chute, Kaukauna to pay for enforcement.”

Full Outagamie County Board to Discuss Lowering I-41 Speed Limit

TUESDAY 10/23/2018 9 a.m.

The Outagamie County Board will meet Tuesday night.

On the agenda is the consideration for whether or not to ask the DOT to lower the speed limit on a portion of Interstate 41 from 70 mph to 50.

We will update this story when the results of that meeting comes in.

WisDOT Shares How Traffic Speed is Determined

TUESDAY 10/9/2018 9:50 a.m.

The most successful traffic laws, as it turns out, are a reflection of the behavior of most motorists.

According to a speed fact sheet shared with Local 5 by the Wisconsin DOT, effective speed limits are those that the majority of motorists, or 85%, will naturally and instinctively drive.


The idea that lowering a posted speed limit will slow down traffic, increase safety, and decrease crashes is actually common misconception.

Yet, the speed limit based on the 85th percentile may be adjusted if factors like crash history significantly impact roadway characteristics or safety.

Studies show crash rates are at their lowest when traffic is traveling at or near the 85th percentile speed.

The 85th percentile rate is key to determining speed because studies show that’s where crash rates are at their lowest.

On the other hand, injuries and fatalities from crashes are highest when motorists drive higher, or lower, than the 85% threshold.

In a story that gained a lot of local attention, the Outagamie County Highway Department met Monday to discuss creating a resolution on lowering the speed limit on I-41 from 70mph to 55. 

While Outagamie County doesn’t have the ability to lower the speed limit on I-41, which is overseen by the federal government, it can create and submit a resolution to the DOT for consideration.

In an ongoing six-month evaluation of the Appleton-to-De Pere corridor, mandated by Governor Walker on August 22nd, speed is only one of the many topics being analyzed.

According to Mark Kantola, Region Communications Manager of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northeast Region, the evaluation not only takes into consideration the speed of the interstate, but also studies roadway geometrics, traffic patterns, crash history, which on and off ramps are most used, as well as the most heavily driven times of the day, among other things.

Kantola says the Wisconsin DOT has already received quite a few resolutions ranging from speed concerns, much like what the Outagamie County Highway Department has begun discussions on, to highway expansion proposals.

Data extracted from received resolutions will be included in a final comprehensive evaluation of the I-41 corridor by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Results of the six-month evaluation will be submitted at the end of February (2019) to the Transportation Projects Commission for decisions, if any, on the next stage of I-41.


As far as the Outagamie County Highway Department’s meeting, it agreed Monday morning to advance the I-41 speed change discussion to the Outagamie County Board Meeting on October 23rd.

The county board will determine whether or not to draft a resolution for the Wisconsin DOT’s consideration.

Outagamie County is discussing a speed reduction for I-41

MONDAY 10/8/2018 8:46 a.m.

Outagamie County is discussing a speed reduction for I-41, Monday morning.

In a Highway Department meeting agenda, the county is slated to talk about a proposal to draft a joint resolution for a portion of the interstate.

The proposal is to reduce I-41 from 70 mph to 55 mph between HWY 15 in Appleton (Northland Avenue) and Scheuring Road in De Pere.

We will update this story with the results of that discussion as information comes in.

Where do you stand on the idea? Let us know by voting in the poll below:

(Click the blue Facebook icon in the upper right-hand corner)

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