Speed cameras to be installed on I-80 and Iowa Highway 146 intersection

Speed cameras to be installed on I-80 and Iowa Highway 146 intersection

2 traffic cameras will be installed this spring on Interstate 80 (I-80) where the interstate crosses Iowa Highway 146, just south of Grinnell. Following the cameras’ installation in early May, there will be a 30-day grace period before violators of the 70 miles per hour speed limit start receiving tickets.

Jim White, chair of the Grinnell City Council Public Safety Committee, said that the traffic cameras are a response to a high level of car accidents on I-80. 

“We thought if we could get people to slow down, it would help,” he said. “Very few people are driving the 70 mile per hour speed limit.” 

Last year was the deadliest year for all Iowa roads since 2016, with 378 deaths recorded in 2023. According to Iowa Department of Transportation data, I-80 is the highest-traffic area in Poweshiek County and one of the busiest in Iowa. Poweshiek County, which is 37th in Iowa by population, ranked 24th in traffic fatalities in 2022. 

Signs will be installed on both sides of I-80 notifying drivers that traffic cameras are present, White said. 

“This will be a permanent sign so that people will know it’s there. It’s not going to be just a speed trap,” White said. “Really, it’s just to keep you in compliance with the speed limit that’s there.”

Two bills regulating the use of traffic cameras are up for debate in the Iowa Senate. The first, Senate File 489, allows fines to be charged only for failing to yield or stop at a traffic control signal, or by driving above the speed limit of 10 miles per hour. Each type of violation would warrant a specific fine, and drivers have the opportunity to contest the fine if they can prove they were not the individual driving. 

The second, Senate File 2337, seeks to ban existing and future traffic cameras for state and local municipalities. Many law enforcement officials have advocated against the bill, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch. 

White said if either bill is implemented into law, the city of Grinnell will comply with the new regulations.

Taylor Nunley

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    Tommy HexterMar 14, 2024 at 10:54 am

    This is an interesting response to the high number of accidents off of Exit 182. To suggest that speed is the cause seems to miss the reality that the long, drawn out and very confusing exit ramps related to the construction of a new overpass at Exit 182 are very much more likely to blame for the accidents.