The commute through Ephraim could get one minute and 12 seconds longer this winter. That’s precisely how long the sheriff’s department clocked the increase in travel time when reducing speed from 35 mph to 25 mph, which the village will consider adopting as the uniform year-round speed limit through downtown Ephraim.
Ephraim’s speed limits on Highway 42 currently change from 25 mph in the summer to 35 mph in the winter. Paul Roppuld, chair of the Community Protection Committee which recommended the change, said the changing speed limits gives the impression of a speed trap, among other concerns.
“From what I personally have been able to determine in the last couple of years, Ephraim residents really don’t care if the speed limit on Water Street is 25 or 35,” said Roppuld in an email.
The village adopted the changing speed limits in the mid-1990s, according to Diane Kirkland, the Ephraim clerk at the time. The board thought 25 mph was too slow in the winter and 35 mph was too fast in the summer, so they changed the signs with the seasons.
“The center of our village is so congested in the summer they didn’t want to have it stay at 35,” Kirkland said.
The village board is expected to take up the recommendation at its regular board meeting on June 4. While the village had to coordinate with the Department of Transportation to get approval for the changing speed limits, it is unclear whether the department needs to sign off on adopting a slower drive through Ephraim.