TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: Ohio looking to implement variable speed limits on certain highways

Feb. 1, 2017

Ohioans will see speed limits change daily or even hourly on some roadways

Gov. John Kasich is asking the Ohio Legislature to permit variable speed limits that change based on how congested the roadway is.

If legislators allow it, the program would be piloted as early as summer 2018 on I-670 in Columbus. If successful, it could expand.

Currently the limit on the proposed test section of I-670 East from downtown to the Columbus Airport ranges from 55 mph downtown to 65 mph in the outer belt area. It would be reduced to 45 westbound in the morning and eastbound in the evening during heaviest traffic periods.

The Ohio Department of Transportation also is proposing that one shoulder of the highway be opened up when congestion is heavy. The left shoulder would be kept clear of debris to allow motorists to drive on it, while the right shoulder would remain off limits to drivers except for emergency vehicles.

Overhead gantries and digital speed limit signs that could be remotely changed would be installed on I-670 so motorists know when they must adhere to lower limits.

Current law only allows speed limits to be temporarily lowered in school zones and work zones. It is unclear how the idea will be received in the Ohio General Assembly.