Slow down on South Touchet Road
April 7, 2022
DAYTON—Drivers, prepare for a speed limit change on South Touchet Road in Dayton. Columbia County Commissioners voted to lower the speed limit from 50 to 35 miles per hour for certain sections of the road, and down to 40 mph for others.
The need to reduce the speed limit is in part due to the density of driveways, intersections, cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized transportation in the first mile of S. Touchet Rd., according to county engineer Jeremy Weiland.
During the public comment at the Monday evening meeting, residents of the S. Touchet neighborhood voiced support for the limit reduction. Some speakers, including Wayne Bell and Steve Tapio, who both live on the road, expressed that they would like to see the speed limit reduction extended past the first mile.
Sue Bell, who lives on S. Touchet Road, expressed that she would like to see the speed limits consistent with the road to the Ski Bluewood resort.
The road is considered ‘unposted,’ and in accordance with state law, the speed limit had been changed from 35 mph to the current 50 mph. The speed limit reduces to 40 mph closer to the gravel section as the road makes its way up the mountain. Both recreational and residential cabins and homes continue along the road.
According to Weiland, the 35 mph limit was selected to increase response time to objects on the side of the road, including cyclists, animals, and pedestrians.
In proposing the new limit, Weiland said in his personal driving experience, 35 mph still feels like forward progress, while speed limits as slow as 25 can be frustrating for drivers.
After discussion, Commissioner Charles Amerein made a motion to lower the speed limit to 35 mph from Milepost 0 until Harding Grade Road, and then lower the speed limit to 40 mph from Harding Grade to the end of the pavement. The commissioners approved the motion.