Officials in Beulah, Michigan improperly posted a speed limit sign for 35 mph, says Sarah Johnson.
The blue expanse of Lake Michigan looms just beyond the trees, fields and golf fairways that line Benzie County’s Sutter Road.
For motorists, it’s a stirring drive along a state-designated scenic road that between September 2006 and last week carried a 35 miles per hour speed limit posting.
Dozens of drivers who during that time traversed the nearly three-mile stretch near the northwest corner of Crystal Lake found themselves saddled with speeding tickets. Improperly so, contends one Traverse City woman.
Sarah Johnson’s research discovered that Benzie officials improperly posted the 35 mph limit, and she plans to fight a ticket recently issued to her husband.
“(The limit is) not enforceable. It wasn’t put up legally and it has no grounds,” Johnson said.
A Benzie sheriff’s deputy on July 7 ticketed Johnson’s husband for going 40 mph on the road, but she contacted the state and found the county had no authority to lower the limit from 55 mph.
The Benzie County Road Commission “misinterpreted” a Michigan Department of Natural Resources recommendation of a lower speed limit for scenic roads, said Lt. Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police traffic services unit.
State police and other agencies weren’t involved with a traffic study for Sutter Road before the change in the posted limit, Megge said, so the lower posting wasn’t binding.
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