Staff Report GDTnews@civitasmedia.com
October 8, 2013
OHIO VALLEY — Commuting motorists in Ohio may now gain a little time as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) overhauls applicable speed limits across the state. For those traveling through Gallia and Meigs counties, this means faster travel on sections of Ohio 7, U.S. 33 and U.S. 35.
The section of U.S. 35 between Gallipolis and Rio Grande, a section heavily traveled by motorists en route to and from West Virginia, is now 70 miles per hour, while sections of U.S. 33 and Ohio 7 in Meigs County have been raised to 60 miles per hour. In Athens and Jackson counties, U.S. 50 is now 60 miles per hour, as well.
For the second time this year, speed limits on some Ohio roadways are about to go up, this time on certain sections of U.S. and state routes. More than 600 miles of roadway will be affected as a result of new legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly earlier this year. The speed limit changes were effective as of Sunday, September 29.
“Raising speed limits is not something the state takes lightly,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “We put much time and consideration into identifying roadways where speed limits could increase while maintaining a safe commute for Ohio motorists.”
The legislative changes require ODOT to produce 1,100 new highway signs at a cost of $114,845. Most of the signs – 580 in all – will be completely new and placed along the roadway, while the rest – 520 – are simply overlays that will cover a portion of an existing speed limit sign. The costs include materials and labor for producing the new signs. Most of the signs are already fully installed and visible to motorists.
The legislation also establishes uniformity in speed limits for both cars and truck so that each vehicle is permitted to go the same speed on any Ohio roadway. In order to comply with the legislation, speed limits on some roadways may stay the same for cars, but will increase for trucks.
Seventy mile per hour speed limits are not new to Ohio. On July 1, speed limits on 570 miles of rural Ohio interstates increased from 65 to 70 miles per hour for both cars and trucks. Motorists were already legally permitted to drive 70 miles per hour on all 241 miles of the Ohio Turnpike. And according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 34 other states in the nation have some posted speed limits of 70 miles per hour or higher including Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia.