Traffic & Safety

KCRC’s Traffic and Safety Division proactively manages traffic operations throughout the network to minimize vehicle crashes and maximize mobility. Traffic operations are managed in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The manual defines the standards used by traffic engineers nationwide to “install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel.”

The Traffic and Safety Division continually monitors vehicle crashes and trends at both the intersection and network levels to assess operations and ensure proper traffic control measures are in place. Ongoing efforts include:

  • Conducting traffic studies to determine appropriate traffic controls
  • Investigating vehicular accidents
  • Monitoring and analyzing crash data
  • Installing/maintaining traffic signs, signals and pavement markings
  • Investigating property damage claims and right-of-way encroachments

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FAQ

Requests for a change to traffic control, like the installation of a traffic signal or all-way stop, are reviewed by the Kent County Road Commission Traffic and Safety Division with the decision based on state guidelines and federally-mandated warrants. 

The ultimate goal when considering a traffic control modification (i.e. all-way stop, traffic signal) is to provide a safe intersection for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. It seems logical that a modification to traffic control would most certainly improve the safety of an intersection, but this is not always the case. In fact, in some instances, traffic control changes only serve to alter the type of crashes that occur and can potentially increase the number, or severity, of accidents. Therefore, it is essential that KCRC performs analysis of the intersections within its network on an ongoing basis and adheres to federally-mandated warrants defined in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) regarding modifications to traffic control.

Meeting a mandated warrant for any traffic control device (sign, signal or pavement marking) is the minimum criteria for traffic control modification. The decision to install a traffic control device is made on the basis of an engineering study, the mandated warrant(s) and engineering judgment by a KCRC traffic engineer.

Traffic Signals
At least one of nine warrants must be met before a traffic signal can be installed. These warrants address the number of vehicles, pedestrians, crashes - or a combination of the aforementioned- that must exist before a signal can be installed. According to the MMUTCD, other factors that must be considered include:

  • A traffic control signal should not be installed unless one or more of the (warrants) are met.
  • A traffic control signal should not be installed unless an engineering study indicates that installing a traffic control signal will improve the overall safety and/or operation of the intersection.
  • A traffic control signal should not be installed if it will seriously disrupt progressive traffic flow.

Multi-Way Stop
Similar to a traffic signal, multi-way stop installation is dependent upon federally-mandated warrants and criteria. According to the MUTCD, multi-way stop signs should be installed on the basis of an engineering study, the mandated warrant(s) and engineering judgment by a KCRC traffic engineer.

Warning/Caution Signs
Please note that any devices that are not in the MMUTCD are not accepted as traffic controls and cannot be used. These include "slow children,” “children at play” and "slow" signs.

To request the production of a street sign for a private street, please call the Permit Department at 616-242-6920.

​Potholes are an unfortunate consequence of Michigan weather, and KCRC seeks to fix potholes as soon as possible after we are notified.


Under Michigan law, the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) is not liable for any damages caused by a roadway defect unless: (1) the defect constituted an imperfection that made the roadway not reasonably safe and convenient for public travel; (2) the Road Commission had notice of the defect; and (3) the Road Commission failed to take corrective measures relating to the defect within a reasonable amount of time. This is a three-part requirement. That is to say, each one of these factors must be established for liability to exist on the part of the Road Commission. Therefore, KCRC typically does not reimburse for damage due to a pothole.


If you believe that all three conditions have been met, and the pothole was on a road under Kent County Road Commission jurisdiction, please contact KCRC’s Traffic and Safety Division at 616-242-6936.

Seasonal weight and speed restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads trucks may carry and the speed at which they can travel. The intent of the restrictions is to protect the integrity of the road when frost is coming out of the ground. Normal legal loads must be reduced by approximately 35% and truck vehicle speeds reduced to 35 mph.

When a request is received to lower the speed limit on a county road, it is reviewed collaboratively by the township, KCRC and the Michigan State Police. The potential next step includes conducting speed studies, accident analyses, and driving environment surveys. A recommendation is made based on analysis of the data collected and established traffic engineering criteria.

If it is determined that a change should be made to the speed limit, a Traffic Control Order is submitted by the Director of the Michigan State Police for KCRC approval.

The primary basis for establishing a proper, realistic speed limit is the nationally recognized method of using the 85th percentile speed. This is the speed at or below which 85% of the traffic moves. Please note that posting unrealistically low speed limits may create a false sense of security, and studies have shown that the driving environment, not the posted speed limit, is the main influence on motorists’ speeds.

You may 

  • call the KCRC office at 616-242-6950 during normal business hours (M-F, 7:30 - 4:30)
  • OR call 911, who will alert us so that it can be addressed as soon as possible.

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