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ODOT Wants To Change Speed Limits Based On Road Conditions

Snow on highway
Rogelio V. Solis
Associated Press

Ohio's Department of Transportation is seeking permission to apply changes in speed limits anytime statewide.

According to the Dayton Daily News, the department currently is allowed to impose variable speed limits based on road conditions on only a few interstate stretches, such as when a snow storm hits I-90 east of Cleveland or when traffic is heavy on I-670 in Columbus.

The proposed change would mean electronic speed limit signs on Ohio highways that could be changed depending on conditions.

ODOT director Jack Marchbanks is asking state lawmakers for the authority to apply variable speed limits across the state.

"What we're talking about is applying it where we have construction projects and we have also known safety issues such as white-outs or other issues impacting traffic, impacting safety of our traveling motorists," Marchbanks said.

An example would be applying a lower speed limit during a winter storm, and then returning to the original speed limit when weather conditions improve.

Marchbanks said the department is not interested in raising highway speed limits.

"People are driving too fast already," Marchbanks said.

State lawmakers approved a test of variable speed limits on I-670 in Columbus starting in 2018.

Current law only allows speed limits to be temporarily lowered in school zones and work zones.