Roller Coaster Speeding

A sign on Roller Coaster Road in Laconia records the speed of a motorist at 50 mph, 20 mph above the legal limit. Neighbors say this is a regular occurrence, especially since the Weirs Bridge has been closed for construction. (Rick Green/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

LACONIA — Closure of the Weirs Bridge for reconstruction this spring has put additional pressure on aptly named Roller Coaster Road, which has an often-ignored 30 mph speed limit, neighbors say.

The 1-mile stretch of road runs downhill from Parade Road to U.S. 3, or Daniel Webster Highway, providing access to The Weirs north of the bridge that is under repair.

Michael Foote, who lives at 222 Roller Coaster Road, said people come down Parade Road at the legal limit of 50 mph and turn onto his street without realizing the speed limit has dropped by 20 mph.

“This is really a neighborhood and not a cross through,” he said.

Foote said there have been multiple accidents.

“My neighbor saw a motorcycle go off the road and the body of the motorcyclist was caught in the tree,” he said. “There’s a lot of deer in this area and there have also been a lot of motorcycle and deer accidents.

“I was trying not to be a nut, but when I saw a big Harley-Davidson Bagger pass a family van on the right side, that’s when I called the police.”

A device that records and displays a vehicle’s speed has been placed in the roadway.

He said a traffic officer once parked in his driveway and caught a speeder within minutes.

Foote said he’s amazed at the motorist behavior.

“They’ve already gone past two signs that say 30 mph and a big flashing one that says you’re going 50 mph, and then they’ll flip you off,” he said.

Public Works Director Wes Anderson said the traffic on Roller Coaster Road has been increased by the bridge closure. The contract for the bridge work specifies that the span is to be opened, at least to alternating traffic, by May 27.

Anderson said he has passed along neighbors concerns to the police department, which has stepped up enforcement.

The steepness of the road and its connection to the higher speed Parade Road, mean that motorists need to be vigilant to make sure they are not speeding, he said.

“If you’re not going to pay attention and are just coasting, you’ll be over the speed limit,” Anderson said. “It’s a fairly steep drop coming down that hill.”

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