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ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: What's the speed limit on Columbia Road overpass?

Each week, Herald reporter Charly Haley answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.

Q. What is the speed limit when going either north or south over the Columbia Road overpass? The signage is confusing. Is it 35 mph south until you get to the 40 mph sign further down the road? Going north, is it 35 mph until you start coming down and then slows to 25 mph? I just would like people to slow down as they drive over the overpass.

A. The speed limit on the Columbia Road overpass is 35 mph. The speed limit on Columbia Road south of the overpass is 40 mph, and the on Columbia Road through UND it’s 25 mph.

It may be confusing because there are several constraints on Columbia that create tricky traffic control situations, according to Jane Williams, city traffic engineer.

The first is the Columbia Bridge because, as with most bridges constructed as long arches, visibility can be restricted by the bridge itself, Williams said. The 35 mph on the Columbia Bridge provides the driver with enough visibility to see if there is something in the road ahead and either slow or stop.

The other item is the curved alignment of Columbia just north of University Avenue, she said. The speed limit in this area is 25 mph so as you drive through the curves you will be able to stay within your lane.

Expired tabs

Q. How is displaying registration tabs on license plates enforced? I have seen many people with expired tabs while just driving around town.

A. Failure to display current tabs or license plates is a “noncriminal” $20 citation, according to Lt. Dwight Love, of the Grand Forks Police Department.

Any vehicle driving on a roadway with expired tabs can be pulled over and cited, Love said.

Like with all citizen contacts, officers will investigate the violation further to try to understand why the violation occurred, he said. For example, officers often find, especially in the winter, that the owner of the vehicle has current tabs inside the vehicle, but hasn’t put them on yet.

When that happens, officers usually use their discretion and choose to educate the citizen on the importance of getting the current tabs onto the license plates, Love said.

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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