Is the slower speed limit on a Lake Co. stretch of I-90 making roads safer?

Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 09, 2017

There have been no major pileups since the move to give a notorious stretch of I-90 a lower speed limit, but law enforcement and transportation authorities agree that there may still be a better solution. 

After a series of serious multi-car pileups on the area of I-90 east of Vrooman Rd., the Ohio Department of Transportation moved to temporarily reduced speed limit of 60 mph in January. 

While there haven’t been any major snow events, ODOT said the stretch has been free of serious multi-vehicle pileups since the speed reduction was put in place. 

Still, many drivers still aren’t convinced that the problem is solved. 

“Nobody should be haughty that we got this fixed,” agreed Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap. 

Dunlap said he believes a better solution would be to impose variable speed limits that can be adjusted temporarily for poor weather conditions and then adjusted back. 

“And then it would say 35 mph which makes a whole lot more sense than 60 mph,” he said, explaining that the speed limit could then easily return to the original 65 or 70 mph mark when weather conditions are normal.   

ODOT District 12 Spokesperson Amanda McFarland told News 5 that they are in agreement on the benefits.

“The problem is that we currently don’t have the authority to be able to do that,” McFarland said. “We’re looking to get the authority to do that.” 

Right now ODOT can only change speed limits at certain times of the day in work zones and school zones. 

She said there’s currently language in ODOT’s proposed budget that would give the department the authority to set variable speed limits on highways like I-90. 

ODOT is planning to test the concept on I-670 in Columbus during high traffic. 

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Unit, there were a high of 32 crashes on that stretch alone in 2013. There were 17 crashes in 2014, 11 crashes in 2015 and 18 crashes last year.