If you've lived in Evansville long enough, or your entire life like me, you know that road construction is a way of life. Any road, at any point in time, can go from perfectly fine one day to being littered with orange barrels or cones and lane restrictions the next. Some projects last a few weeks, others last several months. A prime example of the latter is the construction that's been happening on Vann Avenue just south of the Lloyd Expressway, a relatively busy stretch of road that's been having work done to it for what seems like an eternity (#IYKYK). Fortunately, it seems crews are getting close to wrapping up the project, but what they've done will have an impact on how you drive for years to come.

Speed Table Installed at Vann Avenue and East Walnut Street Intersection

The Office of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced on Monday that "the intersection at Vann Avenue and East Walnut Street is now partially open to traffic, with access available via the inside lanes." Additionally, it was also announced that a "speed table has recently been installed" at the intersection. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I had no clue as to what a "speed table" was and I don't remember ever hearing the term in my life. My first thought was that it sounded like something you park a car on that allows you to spin the tires and measure RPMs while keeping the car in one place. Spoiler alert, that's not what it is at all. Not even close.

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Burnout #1
Allar Bernard

It has nothing to do with this.

What Speed Tables Are and How You Need to Handle Them

Thankfully, the internet exists to answer any and all questions we have. After a simple search of the term, "speed table," I learned that is essentially a glorified speed bump. The difference is that instead of being a rounded hump attached to the road that may be 12 to 18 inches wide, it's more like a raised platform that stretches across the entire road and several feet wider.

Here's a zoomed-in look at the Vann Avenue-East Walnut Street intersection:

Office of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
Office of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

It's a little hard to see, but the edge of the new concrete begins an incline to the newly raised part of the road before dropping back down to the existing pavement.

Here's how the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) defines a speed table:

Speed tables are midblock traffic calming devices that raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle to reduce its traffic speed. Speed tables are longer than speed humps and flat-topped, with a height of 3–3.5 inches and a length of 22 feet.

And here's an illustration from the NACTO that gives you a better idea of how they look:

National Association of City Transportation Officials
National Association of City Transportation Officials

The goal of a speed table is exactly the same as the goal of a speed bump; to get you to slow down. While it may be tempting to pull a Bo and Luke Duke and use the table as your own personal launch ramp, doing so will likely cause hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of damage to your vehicle if you hit it too fast. So obviously, the best way to handle one when you approach it is to slow down.


Do not try this at home.

According to Noah Stubbs, Director of Communications for Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, the reason for installing the speed table is to, "remind motorists that Walnut Street is a shared space, enhancing safety for both pedestrians and bicyclists."

The location makes sense as the entire length of Vann Avenue from the Lloyd Expressway to the intersection of Lincoln Avenue is home to youth football, baseball, and soccer fields that are often in use and can have a large number of children and adults on-site at any given time.

Stubbs did not provide any timetable on when construction on Vann Avenue will be completed.

[Source: Office of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke / National Association of City Transportation Officials]

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