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ODOT Says Variable Speed Limit Helping to Reduce Weather Related Crashes

photo of route 8 crash
An Ohio Department of Transportation camera captured an accident Tuesday morning on Route 8 in Hudson involving a number of vehicles.

Winter weather led to a major pile-up on route 8 in Hudson Tuesday. A state transportation department spokesman says a snow squall reduced visibility and led to the crash.

Matt Bruning says there’s little road crews can do in those instances. One thing he says that has been successful in Lake County is varying the speed limit in certain conditions. ODOT cut the speed limit to 30 mph on a section of I-90 during the storm Tuesday.

Bruning says since they started this program a couple of years ago, injury crashes are down 58% and road recovery time has decreased half an hour. 

“We’ve also not had any major pile-ups since we implemented the variable speed limit," Bruning said. "So we’re very happy with the way that project has gone and certainly that’s something we’d look to expand in other areas of the state.”

But the state legislature has to approve any speed limit change. And Bruning says right now they’ve only agreed to let ODOT implement the variable limit on three stretches of highway that include I-90 in Lake county, I-670 in Columbus and I-275 in Cincinnati.

He says ODOT asked for broader authority in the last transportation budget, but state lawmakers rejected that idea.  

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.