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South Bethlehem speed limit examined

Town: 55 is too fast for Old Quarry Road

Drivers in South Bethlehem take note: you may not be able to drive 55 much longer.

The Town of Bethlehem is considering lowering the speed limit on Old Quarry Road down to 45 mph.

The town's research has found records of 14 crashes in the past three years on the road, seven of which occurred in the past year. Four of those involved deer in the road.

The geography of the area and nature of the road creates blind corners and rises, said Highway Department Foreman Peter Schmidt. The county road is not posted, meaning the legal speed limit is 55 mph.

Old Quarry Road has always been kind of an issue in the past, said Schmidt.

Also of note is the face a short stretch of the road is in the Town of New Scotland, and would not be affected by the change.

A public hearing on the change was held Wednesday, April 28. A number of residents of Old Quarry Road said they appreciated the effort to change the speed limit but added it should be lowered even further to 40 or 35 mph.

They cited concerns such as a lack of shoulder space, blind curves and driveways.

"I feel between 35 and 40 is a more prudent speed for that road," said resident Peter Frueh, who worries about encountering a speeding car when crossing the road for his farming operations.

Some speculated the closing of "Ben's Bridge" over the CSX rail yards in the summer of 2009 has played a role in increasing traffic on Old Quarry.

Members of the Town Board were in general agreement that more information is needed before setting the speed limit.

"It sounds to me like we need a study of the areawe may be dealing with a bigger issue herewe ought to do this correctly and be thorough with it," said Councilwoman Joann Dawson.

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