East Bethel requests speed study on section of Viking Blvd.

The East Bethel City Council Dec. 5 passed a resolution requesting that Anoka County ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to perform a speed study on Viking Boulevard between County Road 17 and Highway 65.

The action comes in response to an unusually high number of accidents on that stretch of road, including six fatalities since April of this year. The current speed limit is 55 miles per hour.

According to MnDOT, a speed study involves collecting data by performing radar checks at selected locations on the roadway under ideal driving conditions. A technical analysis is done on the results to determine the 85th percentile. This value indicates the speed at which most drivers are traveling, and a posted speed limit near this value is considered the maximum safe and reasonable speed.

Although speed is not believed to have been a factor in most of the accidents, the study is one step in the effort to find a way to improve safety on that stretch of roadway. The last speed study of this road was conducted in 1974.

According to Councilmember Steve Voss, there have also been dozens and dozens of non-fatal serious crashes on that same stretch. “I’ve lived there for almost 20 years… it’s a straight stretch of road, and I don’t understand why people go off the road there, but they do,” Voss said.

Councilmember Heidi Moegerle also suggested looking into the possibility of installing signs posting the road as an accident reduction area.