RIDGELAND — Aldermen will lower two speed limits within the city limits following a study by the Public Works Department and City Engineer.

Aldermen unanimously voted last week to lower speed limits on Rice Road.

The current speed limits are 40 miles per hour on Rice Road from Pear Orchard to the city limits and 45 for that stretch from Old Canton Road. City Engineer Chris Bryson’s study recommends that both limits be lowered to 35 miles per hour. The study looked at accidents and other statistics concerning the stretches of the road over a period of five years.

“The recommendation to reduce the posted speed limit to 35 miles per hour is made on the basis of an engineering and speed study which concluded that a reduction in speed would help reduce the accident rate on this section of Rice Road,” Bryson wrote.

The study recorded 41 accidents on that stretch of Pear Orchard and 202 from Old Canton to the city limits over a five-year period. Both roads were designed to accommodate a legal speed limit of 40 miles per hour. The study showed that most motorists were coming through the areas between 42 and 45 miles per hour. The maximum speed observed during the survey was 62 miles per hour.

“Another benefit of a 35 mph speed limit east of Pear Orchard Road will be a smoother transition to the 25 mph speed limit found west of Pear Orchard Road,” Bryson wrote.

Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith said he had doubts the reduction would be effective.

“My concern is that people from Madison coming through Ridgeland to avoid speed limits in Madison,” Smith said. “I am not sure we are solving the problem at 35.”

He said 30 mph would be more effective.

Police Chief John Neal said that he was pretty sure this would match the speed limit coming out of Madison at 35 miles per hour.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier said that he had no problem changing it to 35 and then lowering it again if needed.

“You will already get a lot of flack for just going to 35,” Smith said.

Smith said that the roadways are close to residential areas. He recounted a wreck that ended up in a backyard.

“It happened at night but if it had been the day time and a family was back there it would have been a further tragedy,” Smith said.

The ordinance goes into effect in June.