US Highway 550 near State Highway 197
Southbound on US 550 (NM 44) through the Village of Cuba. Posted speed limit within the town was 35 MPH which I obeyed scrupulously. At the south end of town, US 550 crosses NM 197 and immediately becomes a four lane divided freeway. As you pass through the intersection, you can see a sign about one-tenth of a mile away announcing that the speed limit for the freeway was now 50 MPH. I immediately accelerated after I went though the intersection entering the freeway and quickly reached 45 MPH at a point between the start of the freeway and the sign, continuing to accelerate to a final speed of 50 MPH at some point north of the sign (but south of the NM 197 intersection).
Perhaps a mile or so down the road, I was pulled over by a unit of what I assume is the Cuba Police Department. The officer indicated that I had exceeded the town�s 35 MPH limit by 10 miles per hour just north of the 50 MPH sign. He told me that despite the placement of the 50 MPH sign on that portion of the divided four lane highway south of the NM 197 intersection, the reduced speed limit does not officially change until the bridge over Nacimiento Creek.
I was cited for going faster than 35 MPH on the southbound portion of US 550 between the intersection of NM 197 and the Nacimiento bridge, despite the fact that I was looking right at a 50 MPH speed limit sign. The placement of the sign is deceptive and designed to get folks to exceed the limit even if they are thinking they’re law abiding citizens. If that doesn’t count as a speed trap, I don’t know what would.