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Variable speed limits could reduce crashes during bad weather on I-90 in Lake County

Posted at 8:05 AM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 08:11:21-05

It took an act of the Ohio General Assembly to get it done, but now, during winter weather events, the speed limit will drop depending on how bad the roads are on one stretch of I 90 in Lake County.

Depending on the weather and how much snow accumulates, the speed limit could drop from 70 to as low as 30 miles per hour. The first time the variable speed limits took effect was on Friday during a snow event, but ODOT officials say, expect to see it happen often this winter.

“If there was low visibility, if there were icy pavement condition, people were still traveling around 68 miles per hour, which really isn’t appropriate for winter weather,” said Marissa McDaid, an ODOT Spokesperson.

“It will reduce by about 10 miles per hour and that’s based on a few different characteristics,” she said.

During winter storms, ODOT will reduce the speed on a 13 mile stretch of i-90 from State Route 44 to State Route 528 based on:

  • Visibility  
  • Precipitation
  • Pavement accumulation
  • And incidents or lane closures

“Before it just wasn’t legally enforceable, we could say, please drive 40 miles per hour but we could never say, this is the legal speed limit, you really need to abide by this,” said McDaid.

According to ODOT, in the last decade, there were more than 700 accidents here on the 13 mile stretch of I 90.

“It’s only been a few days we’ve seen it in action but we hope to see some sort of change,” said McDaid.

The updated variable speed limits will be posted on the ODOT website, as well as on numerous digital speed limit signs along I 90 between State Route 44 and State Route 528.