City Council Approves Construction Speed Zone Reductions | #citycouncil

[Anamul Rezwan/Pexels]

Manassas City Council approved a construction zone speed limit reduction ordinance at the July 7 regular meeting, which will enable the city manager to act without an engineering and traffic investigation.

Acting Communications Director Lisa Sievel-Otten said the chief concern and reason for this change was safety.

“Safety is very important for the residents and those working on the roads,” she said. “A slower speed in certain situations is safer.”

The ordinance was proposed by the Manassas Public Works Department. The meeting agenda stated these reductions wouldn’t last more than 60 days. The department’s justification for an explicit language change is to reduce the overall construction timeline for projects.

It was prompted by an excavation permit by a private contractor along Nokesville Road, Sievel-Otten said, which then got City Council to consider adopting this change.

“This work is anticipated to continue into 2025 with lane reductions for both directions of travel,” Sievel-Otten said.

“It is to be expected that the city manager or designated ‘expert’ employee would have the knowledge to accurately assess the need and safety benefit of an immediate and temporary speed reduction, without the need for a formal engineering and traffic investigation,” the agenda statement reads.

Sievel-Otten said it was difficult to know the number of construction zones in the city at a given time — private work is conducted regularly in addition to public projects — but generally, there are three to five ongoing city projects.

City Council is allowed to do this under Virginia code, which states:

“The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance, or may by ordinance authorize its chief administrative officer to … authorize the city or town manager or such officer thereof as it may designate, to reduce for a temporary period not to exceed 60 days, without such engineering and traffic investigation, the speed limit on any portion of any highway of the city or town on which work is being done or where the highway is under construction or repair.”

Sievel-Otten said after the second reading of the ordinance on July 22, this is expected to become effective and enforceable shortly after.

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