ODOT to begin variable speed limits on I-90 to reduce winter weather crashes

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -  ODOT will be implementing variable speed limits to reduce weather-related crashes along a notorious stretch of Interstate 90.

Massive pileups involving dozens of cars and semis have occurred in recent years on the highway near Vrooman Road. It prompted ODOT to lower the speed limit in the area for several weeks last winter.

This winter, ODOT will install new digital speed limit signs that can be adjusted quickly based on changing weather and road conditions.

In November and December, they will be installed along a 12-mile section of I-90 between State Routes 44 and 528.

The cost of the project is $1.5 million, according to ODOT District 12 Spokesperson Amanda McFarland.

Variable speed limits have been used in work zones on local highways, but they have never been used for weather in Ohio.

“When weather becomes inclement with a lot of snow or ice we can temporarily reduce the speed limit to help motorists travel at a safe speed,” she said.

The speed limit can be adjusted to as low as 30-miles-per-hour for a high impact situation such as a road closure, but the lowest it will typically go is 40 mph, McFarland said.

“We're going to use things such as indicators from the National Weather Service telling us there's really bad weather coming,” she said. “A lot of times we're going to use our eyes on the ground. We have managers traveling routes, all these snow plows out there working.”

She reminded drivers everywhere to be prepared for changing conditions during winter weather.