Wayne White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—Law-abiding citizens might someday drive slower on
Osage County’s gravel roads if a plan by county commissioners
becomes reality. But even with a speed limit change, non-law-abiding
drivers will likely continue to drive too fast, commissioners agreed.
A discussion about changing speed limits on country roads gained
momentum Monday after Glen Tyson, county road and bridge supervisor,
told commissioners about a request from residents near Pomona Lake
to lower the speed limit inside Pomona Heights subdivision.
“They’re probably right, it needs to be slower,”
said Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall. “But legally
they should pay for a traffic study.”
Tyson noted that some of the county’s subdivisions have posted
speed limits, but he did not know if traffic studies had been conducted.
“Some of them might have just put in signs,” Kuykendall
Kuykendall steered the discussion to county and township gravel
“I think they’re all too fast at 55,” he said,
“even the county roads.”
Kuykendall noted that if the county or other government entity planned
to change the speed limit on a specific road, the state requires
a speed study to be conducted at the expense of the requesting entity.
But pointing out that Shawnee County had blanketed its roads with
lower speed limits, he said he believed there is a method of changing
all roads without speed studies, such as with a county resolution.
Later during the meeting, commissioners met with Osage County Sheriff
Laurie Dunn and questioned her about her opinion of the proper speed
for county roads.
Dunn said 40 to 45 mph, “at most, would be a safe gravel road
“That’s one thing we get a lot of calls on is people
driving fast on gravel roads,” Dunn said. “Unless it’s
otherwise posted, it’s 55 mph.”
“There are some roads that people drive faster,” she
said. “On some of these roads 20 mph is too much.”
“We’re seriously discussing putting all gravel roads
in the county at some other speed limit,” Kuykendall said.
Dunn asked about roads that now have posted speed limits, such as
189th Street that is posted at 30 mph to regulate the speed of trucks
going to and from quarries along that road.
“Are you going to leave it at 30 or go back up to 40?”
Kuykendall said posted roads would not change; the resolution could
be written to apply only to non-posted roads.
Dunn said most speeders on 189th Street that receive citations from
the sheriff’s office, are not truck drivers.
“Because truck drivers got a way to tell each other we’re
there,” she said.
Osage County Commissioner Carl Meyer said many drivers do not obey
speed limit signs on the county’s blacktop roads or highways.
“Like Auburn Road out of Burlingame is 50 mph,” Meyer
said. “If you drive 50 mph everybody passes you. Or drive
over here on 31 highway, you drive 55 mph and everyone passes you.”
“Regardless of what you do,” Meyer said, “they’re
going to exceed the speed limit.”
The other commissioners nodded in agreement.
Commissioners instructed Tyson to check with county engineers to
determine the kind of signage that would be needed to make the change.
They requested Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones to research the
procedure necessary to change the speed limits without traffic studies.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved a bid of 2.77 annual percentage rate for a lease
purchase agreement for two motor graders. Citizens State Bank, Lyndon,
was the winning bidder for the three-year agreements that will be
used to purchase two John Deere motor graders. One is a 2010 model
costing $142,500 after trade in; the other is a 2009 model costing
$129,276 after trade in. Other bidders were First Security Bank
at 3.99 percent, and Lyndon State Bank at 3.5 percent.
• met with Sherry Coffman regarding the purchase of a furnace
for the Vassar schoolhouse. Commissioners decided to purchase a
furnace costing $6,150 from Freunds Service, to be paid from the
federal land entitlement fund.
• approved an agreement with ESRI to provide maintenance for
graphical information system software in the county’s planning
and zoning department, at a cost of $1,000.
• approved the purchase of a Sony digital camera for the sheriff’s
office from Wolf’s Camera, at a cost of $660.93.
• appointed Raylen Phelon as Melvern Township’s
clerk, to fill a vacant position. Phelon won the position in the
Nov. 2 election, but will now fill the remaining two months of the
• called for a special meeting to be held Nov. 17 due to commissioners
and other county officers attending a meeting of the Kansas Association
of Counties next Monday.
• agreed to schedule a public hearing on American Medical
Response’s request to increase user fees by six percent. Kuykendall
said that if no citizens appear at the hearing in opposition to
the increase, he would likely agree to the proposal. A tentative
date of Dec. 6 was suggested for the hearing, but AMR personnel
are to be consulted before the date is confirmed.
• met with Bill Persinger, executive director of Mental
Health Center of East Central Kansas, who reported the center is
in better financial condition than was reported last year.
• began initial discussions to update the county’s neighborhood