Speed Limit On Burma Road To Be Lowered Effective March 1

In a joint effort with local communities, Naval Station Newport announced a forthcoming reduction in speed limits along Burma Road, also recognized as Defense Highway, traversing Middletown and Portsmouth, RI on the western edge of Aquidneck Island. The initiative is set to take effect on March 1, 2024.

Captain Henry Roenke, the installation’s commanding officer, emphasized the collaborative decision reached after discussions with town administrators and police chiefs from neighboring areas. Captain Roenke expressed the belief that reinstating previous speed limits on Burma Road is mutually beneficial for the safety of the public and underscores the importance of cooperation between military and civilian leaders to ensure a secure environment for daily commuters.

The speed limit adjustment will revert to the earlier posted limits of 35 miles per hour, marking a shift from the elevated 45 miles per hour set nearly two years ago on most sections of the road. Navy and local authorities pointed to an upswing in motor vehicle accidents, incidents involving animals, and an increased number of traffic violations since the introduction of the higher speed limit.

Despite the Navy’s proprietary jurisdiction over the roadway, responsibility for law enforcement remains with state and local authorities. Captain Roenke clarified that the Navy is committed to maintaining and owning the public road without assuming law enforcement obligations from state or local jurisdictions.

Bruce Katz, the installation’s public affairs officer, announced a forthcoming public information campaign to disseminate details about the impending speed limit changes. The Navy will collaborate with local police and public information partners to amplify communication efforts, ensuring that residents and drivers are well-informed about the forthcoming alterations.

The installation plans to install new speed limit signs just before the March 1 implementation date. Additionally, local towns will deploy mobile sign trailers on or near Burma Road to alert vehicle operators to the revised, lower speed limit and the effective date of the change. The comprehensive approach aims to prepare and inform both the installation and local communities for this significant shift in road regulations.




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