Variable speed limits coming to Interstate 90 in Lake County this winter

In recent years, rapidly changing winter weather conditions have made Lake County prone to dangerous pile ups.

Authorities have said speed and poor visibility have led to major crashes in recent winters on Interstate 90 between State Routes 44 and 528. So, variable speed limits will be put into effect this winter on that stretch of I-90 when the highway becomes slippery and dangerous, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

Digital speed limit signs will be installed on sign poles and power cables at 19 different locations, nine eastbound and 10 westbound, along the stretch of I-90. 

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Permanent signage is expected to be active in early 2018. In the meantime, portable speed limit signs are in place. Motorists will be notified of speed limit changes by flashing lights.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will use various criteria to decide when to reduce the speed limit, including pavement conditions, visibility, precipitation, vehicle incidents and traffic congestion.

The speed limit will be reduced in 10 mph increments as conditions warrant. 

“As it starts to snow more and gets more windy and white out conditions come, we can reduce it in 10 mph increments, from 60 to 50 to 40. Forty is probably the lowest you’re ever going to see, but we can go as low as 30,” said Amanda McFarland with ODOT District 12.

McFarland said there were hundreds of accidents along that stretch of I-90 in a decade.

“From 2005 to 2015, there were over 700 crashes in that 10 year period on this corridor alone. That’s a lot of crashes,” McFarland said.

McFarland said there’s nothing wrong with the road, but it’s a specific location that gets slammed with bands of heavy snow squalls.

“The conditions out there can change very rapidly,” McFarland said.

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