CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The speed limit in the North Lee Elementary School zone on North Lee Highway here now is 10 miles per hour higher.
In line with a recommendation from the city's contract traffic consulting firm, Cannon & Cannon, the new speed limit signs were posted Tuesday afternoon.
"We are doing that to reduce rear-end collisions on the highway," City Manager Janice Casteel said Wednesday.
North Lee Elementary is a Bradley County school that is inside the city limits. School traffic turns onto and off the highway at Sequoyah Road to reach the school, a quarter-mile away.
City officials also asked Cannon & Cannon for an opinion on creating a school zone just north of the North Lee zone at Tennessee Christian Preparatory School. The consultants recommended no change there.
"The primary conclusion of our evaluation for the existing school zone [North Lee] is that although traffic conditions are not extreme, there exists sufficient justification to retain the school zone," Cannon & Cannon Vice President Alan Childers wrote to City Engineer Brian Beck.
But because of a lack of pedestrian traffic on the highway at the school, the consultants said, the former 20-mph speed limit should be increased to 30 mph on U.S. 11 to meet Tennessee Department of Transportation guidelines
The Sequoyah Road speed limit at the school remains 15 mph.
At Tennessee Christian, a privately operated school with an entrance directly from North Lee Highway, the consultants said that if the city chose to create a school zone, it should have overhead flashing lights and be posted at 30 mph.
Casteel said Wednesday the city always follows TDOT guidelines and consultant recommendations.
The posted speed at two other county schools within the city limits - Ocoee Middle School and Bradley Central High School - will remain the same at 20 mph, Casteel said.
"In those locations, there are overhead flashing signs plus people in the street directing traffic, so it's a different situation," she said.