First blast of snow means variable speed limits in effect on I-90 in Lake County

LAKE COUNTY - The first widespread snow across the Cleveland area made for a busy day for ODOT road crews, especially in Lake County.

"Our crews are working around the clock we have 80 snow plows operating in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties," said ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland.

This winter is the first where ODOT will use what they are calling a variable speed limit along a stretch of Interstate 90. During bad weather the speed can be lowered to 40 mph. The change is reflected in various posted signs.

According to McFarland, I-90 in Lake County is the only area in Ohio where ODOT is using the variable speed limit for weather conditions.

"Out there, visibility can change in the blink of an eye and we just want people to be slowing down during those whiteout conditions," said McFarland.

The goal is to reduce the amount of crashes drivers experience. In 2016, several people were hospitalized during a 50 vehicle pileup on I-90 between State Route 528 Madison Road in Leroy Township.

"I felt more comfortable driving that stretch of 90 today in this weather than I did last year at this time," said driver Sal LaPuma.

While many drivers are optimistic the change is for the better, not everyone agrees.

"People kind of drive the speed limit they want to drive and during the winter months it doesn't help," said driver Arti Caro.

McFarland says between November and March from 2005 to 2015 there were 701 crashes during winter weather along I-90 between state route 91 and the Lake and Ashtabula County line.