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Drive faster? Speed limit changes in Ephraim as tourism season in Door County slows

Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 06, 2023
  • Video shows cars driving on the Wisconsin 42 after the speed limits have recently been adjusted.
  • Since November 1989, the Village has continued this tradition, as a reflection of there being less traffic.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

As the tourism season in Door County slows, the rate at which people are able to travel through the Village of Ephraim speeds up. I’m your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt, with a look at the new speed limits in place.

"These two little bolts right here, that's all it takes," said MacDonald.

Justin MacDonald is the Maintenance Manager for the Village of Ephraim.

Since November 1989, there is a change that comes to the main road in Ephraim.

"Everybody waits for November 1st to see us out changing it back again," said MacDonald.

In about an hour and a half, maintenance crews change roughly 30 speed limit signs throughout the Village of Ephraim, increasing them by ten miles per hour, from 25 to 35 in downtown, to 35 to 45 in outer areas.

Rod Hamilton, a Traffic Engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northeast Region, says there are only two areas with seasonal speed limits in Wisconsin.

"One on Wisconsin 42 in Ephraim, and then one on Wisconsin 32. In Townsend in Oconto County," said Hamilton.

Hamilton says the lower speed limits, which technically run from the first Wednesday in May, to the last Wednesday in October were set in place to try and combat the high amounts of traffic these areas see during the summer months.

Carly Mulliken is a local who owns the Lodgings at Pioneer Lane off of Wisconsin 42. She says the traffic in the summer is much different than the winter months.

"In some ways, there's not even a need for any sort of speed limit because it's just so slow when people are looking over at the bluff or looking at the water or seeing you know, our cute little village," said Mulliken.

MacDonald says the locals like the maintenance crew a lot more in the fall than in the spring, but it is truly something unique to Ephraim.

"We're different in many ways and that's one of the one way is to be different in Door County and in the state of Wisconsin."

In the spring, the signs are lowered back down. MacDonald says that'll happen on May 1st.