Ohio in the fast lane

State increases speed limit on interstates in rural areas

In the most recent budget bill, the Ohio Legislature authorized the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to raise the speed limit on rural interstate roadways within the state, effective July 1. The new speed limit in these areas has been raised from 65 to 70 mph and is consistent with the speed limit that has been in effect along the Ohio Turnpike since 2011.

The affected interstates are as follows:

  • I-70: From the Indiana border in the west to just outside Wheeling, W.Va., in the east, excluding Dayton, Columbus and Zanesville.
  • I-71: From just north of Cincinnati to Mile Marker 224 in Medina County, just south of the Cuyahoga County line, excluding Columbus.
  • I-75: From just outside Toledo south to just north of Dayton, excluding Findlay and Lima.
  • I-76: From just outside Akron east to just west of Youngstown.
  • I-77: From just outside Canton south to the West Virginia border.
  • I-90: From Mile Marker 205 in LeRoy Township, Lake County, east to the Pennsylvania border.

Note that speed limits on I-271, I-480 and I-90 in the Cuyahoga County area remain the same.

The last time the speed limit for passenger cars was 70 mph was 50 years ago—in 1963. The limit was lowered to 55 mph in 1974 and raised to 65 in 1987.

ODOT has installed not only new speed limit signs, but also "Reduced Speed Ahead" signs to let motorists know where speed limits drop.

Since the legislature authorized ODOT to determine exactly where speed limits could be raised, motorists may expect adjustments throughout the state.

With even faster speeds on the highways, please drive carefully.

—Michael E. Cicero

Cicero is chair of the public sector law practice at NGC as well as prosecutor in Hunting Valley and assistant prosecutor in Lyndhurst, Mayfield Village and Gates Mills.