By Alan Sorensen
by Alan Sorensen
The Havre Daily News
Thursday, may 6
Signs giving the real numerical speed limits that go into effect on May 28, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, are being erected now along roadways throughout Montana.
But unlike previous reports, the signs wont be covered in plastic sacks and then unveiled on May 28.
Instead, theyll remain uncovered, but unenforced, until Memorial Day weekend.
It means going back to every location (to take off the wraps), and just as a practical matter, those guys all have so much other work to do, Montanan Department of Transportation public relations officer Dennis Unsworth said in a telephone interview this morning. It doesnt hurt to have them up there. Most people are abiding by those limits anyway.
The MDT and Montana Highway Patrol have reached an agreement that allows the signs to be exposed to the motoring public from the moment they go up.
The agreement is just that they will go up, but it wont be enforced until sunup the 28th of May, Unsworth said.
Workers with the Havre division the MDT (highway department) began the time-consuming task of erecting the signs this week. They have more than 100 of the new Montana speed limit signs to hang throughout northcentral Montana.
A 3-man crew erected a pair of signs in the borrow pit along the northbound lane of Montana Secondary 232 just north of Havre Wednesday morning. The work entailed digging holes, sinking poles, and hanging signs.
By the time division employees are done, theyll have erected the new signs on state, federal and interstate roadways from here to St. Mary on the west and just west of Dodson on the east. Theyll also cover all the territory to the Canadian border in between those locations and go south as far as Dupuyer, Loma, and Hays.
The day and night limit signs on Interstate 15 from Conrad to the Canadian border at Sweetgrass read 75 mph and are much larger than the signs along the other highways.
One extra-large 70 mph sign will be erected at the Wildhorse Port of Entry to let people entering the country know that Montana does have a speed limit.
John Sinclair, stockman at MDTs Havre division headquarters, said the division includes Browning, Shelby, Cut Bank, Conrad, Dupuyer.
On the Interstate, we put up 31 signs, Sinclair said.
The sign posts and signs come in sets of two for the new limits, Sinclair said. The first sign that motorists will see contains the day and night speed limits for regular traffic on noninterstates 70 mph during the day and 65 at night. About 150 to 200 feet farther up the road, crews will erect truck speed limit signs that read 60 mph daytime and 55 at night.
The only thing we know is that we dont start writing tickets until the 28th, anything on the 28th, Highway Patrol Officer Roger Hinckley said Wednesday.
The nighttime limit will actually increase from 55 to 65 mph, but remains at 55 until the 28th. The daytime limit is the one motorists will have to be most concerned with obeying.
Daytime starts a half hour prior to sunrise and it ends a half hour after sunset the same day, Hinckley said.
Sunrise on the 28th is at 5:35 a.m. Mountain Daylight Savings Time (MDT), Hinckley said, so patrolmen will begin watching for daytime speeders a half hour earlier at about 5:05 a.m. The daytime limit will be enforced until a half hour after sunset, which falls at 9:10 p.m. on the first day its in effect, he said.