No pun intended. Driving though Big Water has changed notably in the last few months. The new 55 mile per hour signs up are a welcome relief to many people on both sides of the Utah/Arizona border.
This is a story with a long history of local residents and elected officials attempting to have the speed limit reduced through Big Water. It is an idea whose time has come.
In April of last year, a local resident and business owner, Mike Miller, was injured and his car totaled while attempting to turn left off Highway 89. Thankfully, Mike survived but sustained serious injuries.
For years, city officials have been attempting to figure out how to have UDOT lower the speed limit through Big Water. Thankfully, the first step in the process has occurred and the limit is now 55 mph instead of 65.
Rick Parsons, Big Water Mayor, has been to numerous UDOT meetings trying to raise the warning flag of impending disaster. The flag got real with Mike’s accident.
Wayne Chapman, a Big Water resident, wrote an open letter to Governor Huntsman in July pleading the case for the lowering of the speed limit before a child is injured or killed.
Not to write my own editorial here but UDOT indicates the speed limit revolves around Big Water’s master plan. However, after 17 years of living here, there have been many people on town council and planning and zoning, who have tried to get this problem addressed to no avail. The traffic on Highway 89, especially in summer months with tourists and visitors to Lake Powell, increases dramatically over winter months. The vehicle that plowed into Mike’s car was a 22 wheeler semi-truck.
The new lower limit hopefully will become permanent and the first in a series of steps to make Big Water’s highway access safer and more visitor friendly.
Here is where the new 55 MPH signs are located on Highway 89. Click on map two times to get full size view.