Speed limits on four Methow Valley Roads — about 5 miles total — will be lowered to 35 miles per hour (mph) by the end of next week, after Okanogan County Public Works installs new signs, according to county engineer Josh Thomson. The Okanogan County commissioners approved the changes by a vote of 2-to-1 at their meeting on July 14. Commissioner Ray Campbell abstained.
The roads with the reduced speed limits are East Chewuch Road near Winthrop, from where it intersects with Studhorse Mountain Road to Bear Creek Road (0.7 mile). The speed limit on Bear Creek Road will also be lowered, to where it switches from pavement to gravel (1.7 miles).
Near Twisp, the speed limit will be reduced on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road from the Twisp town limits to Balky Hill Road, a distance of about 2 miles. In addition, the speed limit on 0.6 mile of Upper Beaver Creek Road, heading north from the intersection with Balky Hill to the end of the pavement, will be changed to 35 mph.
The reductions are a response to petitions submitted to the county by the North Central ATV Club, which said that the road segments were winding and already signed with slower advisory speeds. The petitions said the changes would be “for safety concerns for all and ATV [all-terrain vehicle] use,” but the commissioners’ ordinance refers only to the “health and safety of the public.”
Any decisions to permit ATVs on the roads would have to be taken up separately by the commissioners. State law permits local jurisdictions to allow wheeled ATVs to use roads with speeds of 35 mph or less.