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Is the 50 mph speed zone near Exit 24 always in effect?

Recently you printed a Q&A about city and county vehicles speeding through the 50 mph construction over by Home Depot. I am stumped, because it seems to me that 80 percent of the traffic through that area is going between 65 and 80. They zip past me, even if I am going 55, so I wonder if they know something that I don't. I have been wondering if the 50 mph is only in effect if the cones are right next to the traffic lanes. (They seem to be way back at the outside edge now).

Life is busy, and I hate going so slow if I really don't need to. I am hoping you can enlighten me.

— Karen H., Ashland

 Keep it at 55, Karen. Or maybe five miles lower.

Per the Oregon Department of Transportation, the speed limit within Exit 24's diverging diamond pattern work site is always in effect. What's not is enforcement, i.e. the cars with the flashing lights that pull you over. You could hit the gas pedal — we here at Since You Asked admit to doing it once or twice ourselves — but how lucky do you feel?

"Some people are going to blow through there, some people are going to say I didn't see it," said ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming. "We don't have funding for 24-7 enforcement out there, but when there is enforcement and people get stopped, fines double in the work zone."

The 15 mph drop remains in place for safety reasons, both for road workers and drivers. Even when those workers aren't present, Leaming said the altered environment can be a distraction for motorists.

"You've got equipment in the median," Leaming said. "Things are different than normal."

"The intent isn't to from a speed trap. The intent is to keep drivers safe."

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.