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RANCHESTER — It’s time to hit the brakes.
As Sheridan County School District 1 moves toward construction of a new elementary school west of Ranchester, it has been determined by Ranchester Town Council that the speed limits on U.S. Highway 14 need to be reduced for greater safety in the area.
The highway was recently annexed by the town in order to provide greater control of speeds that would normally be determined by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
At their last meeting May 20, council members had discussed using a flashing light to lower the speed limit during school hours and increase it when school was not in session. However, a WYDOT representative recommended doing a straight speed change and not installing the flashing light indicator, Ranchester Mayor Allan Moore said.
Speeds will be reduced to 30 mph where they were once 40 mph, extending the 30 mph limit through town and west past SCSD1 facilities in the area. Moore said it wasn’t determined exactly when the changes would be made but that it would occur this summer.
SCSD1 Business Manger Jeremy Smith said construction on the new elementary school is expected to begin this month.
In other business, the council tabled an ordinance passed on second reading May 20 that would allow residents to irrigate by permit out of the Tongue River Ditch with the town of Ranchester’s municipal water rights in the ditch. Council members are awaiting information from the ditch company before moving ahead with the third reading on the ordinance, Moore said.
The board also passed, on second reading, three amendments to zoning code. One will require that planned unit development site plans comply with code standards. The other two eliminated the Board of Adjustments from the code and assigned BOA functions to the planning commission and Town Council.
Discussions continue on the idea of putting in a railroad quiet zone at the crossing on Five Mile Road (County Road 120A) northwest of Ranchester. At the meeting, Town Engineer Chris Johnson discussed his meeting with WYDOT and Burlington Northern representatives held May 21. He noted that there is a possibility of putting a horn at the crossing that is more quiet than a train horn and should not disrupt the town so much. Moore said Newcastle has a similar set-up and has had great success with it.
Johnson will research the possibility and report back to council.