Ridgeland reducing Rice Road speed limit

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Traveling along Rice Road will soon be a little slower, but safer, according to city engineer Chris Bryson.

Over the past five years, there have been a number of rear-end collisions at side street intersections along Rice Road.

Approximately 16 rear-end collisions were reported between Idlewood Lane and Muirwood Circle alone.

A speed study conducted by the city of Ridgeland shows that the possible cause of that accident rate is an inadequate stopping sight distance due to the curve of the road and the number of access points.

“We began the study after an accident on Rice Road, which caused us to pull the accident reports,” Bryson said. “We noticed a high number of rear-end collisions near the access points at subdivisions. It was something we felt like we could help reduce.”

According to Bryson, the stopping sight distance is dependent on the speed and reaction time of the driver in addition to the road’s horizontal and vertical alignment.

“I looked to see if there were any safety measure we could take,” Bryson said. “The speed limit reduction will allow more reaction time to make decisions to stop, slow down or turn.”

The Ridgeland mayor Gene McGee and the board of aldermen recently adopted an ordinance to change the speed limit on Rice Road to 35 miles per hour from Pear Orchard to the Ridgeland city limits at the Natchez Trace Parkway with the hope of reducing the number of accidents in that area.

The study concluded that the accident rate on that section of Rice Road would drop with the help of a lower speed limit.

The operating speed on this section of Rice Road is between 42 to 45 miles per hour.

The maximum speed observed during the study was 62 miles per hour east of Harbour Drive.

Bryson said that changing the speed limit to 35 will provide consistent posted speed east of Pear Orchard Road, which he said could reduce drive confusion and aid with enforcement.

The speed limit change will also provide a smoother transition to the 25 mile per hour speed limit found west of Pear Orchard Road.

Hilda Westbrook, a Ridgeland resident living in that area, is happy about the speed change.

“I think 35 is good,” Westbrook said. “That will definitely help.”

The city will soon conduct a speed study on Colony Park Boulevard to determine the necessary speed limit for that road.

Following the study, a speed limit will be formally adopted by the Ridgeland board of aldermen.

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