The Bulletin Board

Lawmaker tries again to increase speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee 

By: - March 6, 2023 3:27 pm
Exterior of the State House

Opponents of the bill include the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

The daytime speed limit on the widest portion of Lake Winnipesaukee would go from 45 to 65 mph under a bill up for a public hearing Wednesday. If history and the testimony submitted ahead of Wednesday’s hearing are any indication, it will face a tough fight. 

A similar effort failed last year in the House, and 144 people have registered opposition to this year’s effort, House Bill 448. The bill does not propose changing the 30 mph nighttime speed limit, and the increase would apply to the Broads.

Opponents include the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, which told the committee in written testimony that the existing speed limit makes the lake safe for all users, including those using smaller crafts like canoes, kayaks, and sailboats. Rick and Julia Fradette, who own a lakefront cottage in Moultonborough, warned that increasing the speed for an activity that often involves alcohol would be dangerous. 

“The analogy would be to increase the highway speed limit to 90 or 100 mph because cars these days are able to easily reach that speed,” they wrote. “We do not need to travel faster, and it certainly is far more dangerous.” 

Just four people registered support for increasing the speed. 

The bill is sponsored by two Republican Belknap County House members, Reps. Mike Bordes of Laconia and Douglas Trottier of Belmont. Bordes was the prime sponsor on a similar bill last year. The Resources, Recreation, and Development Committee is set to take public testimony at 1 p.m. in Representatives Hall. Written testimony can be submitted online through the Legislature’s homepage, gencourt.state.nh.us. If the bill passes the House, it would also need the Senate’s approval to advance.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]

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