Signals, Signs & Speed Limits

General Signs

Requests for signs are a daily occurrence at the Road Commission. All requests receive our consideration, but all installations within the road right-of-way must adhere to the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD). If signs are unreasonable, such as an artificially low speed limit, the general public will ignore them.

If we granted all requests for signs without meeting certain conditions (called warrants) as outlined in the MMUTCD, there would be overpopulation of signs and motorists would ignore them. Requests for children playing signs are a good example. These signs are limited to locations where children are expected to be present, such as school playgrounds and designated parks.

There are regulations regarding non-road regulatory signs in the road right-of-way.  Click here to learn more.

Private Road Signs 

The Grand Traverse County Road Commission is not responsible for signs associated with private roads.  Local vendors are available to provide this service which will comply with standard regulations.  Private Road Sign Policy provides more details. 

Speed Limits & Speed Limit Signs

A common misunderstanding is that the Road Commission has the authority to install speed limit signs at their sole discretion. Before a speed limit can be posted, a joint speed study must be conducted with representatives from the Road Commission and Michigan State Police. Radar guns are used to determine what speed 85% of the motorists are driving. The assumption is that the majority of motorists will drive what seems to be a reasonable speed.

Speed limits are utilized in areas requiring speed limits between the statutory freeway speed limits, 55 mph maximum speed limits on state and county roadways, and the 25 mph prima facie speed limits in business and residential areas. Gravel roads, (due to their ever-changing condition due to weather, etc,) do not have speed limit signs.  Motorists are to drive "for conditions."

Here's a link to the Michigan State Police's YouTube video on establishing speed limits.

Traffic Signals

What do the flashing arrow lights mean?  Click here to watch a video explaining the flashing arrow lights.
Traffic signals must also meet a series of warrants for an installation to be justified. Road Commission staff monitors and collects traffic data to determine when warrants are met.

Violation & Jurisdiction Information

Entrances into subdivisions are provided with a 25 miles per hour speed limit sign. We do not participate in speed limits on private roads as they are outside our jurisdiction. Unposted, county roads are presently 55 miles per hour. Motorists driving on gravel roads must do so with the knowledge that gravel roads are subject to changing conditions and to drive accordingly.

What can a resident do if motorists violate the posted limit? The Road Commission is not an enforcing agency. Typically, if tickets are issued, the message gets out and the speeding is reduced. Experience shows that the majority of tickets issued are to local residents. If neighbors talk to neighbors, some peer pressure can help alleviate the problem.