COLUMBUS: The speed limit on most of Ohio’s interstate highways will rise to 70 mph beginning July 1 under a new law Gov. John Kasich signed Monday.
The Republican governor signed the transportation budget bill containing the higher speed limit for rural stretches of interstate during an event in Warrensville Heights, near Cleveland.
The two-year budget measure also sets in motion a $1.5 billion Ohio Turnpike bond sale that guarantees 90 percent of bond proceeds will go to northern Ohio projects. Toll rates would be capped on E-ZPass users’ car trips of 30 miles or less for 10 years.
The measure sets the maximum speed limit for interstate freeway outerbelts in urban areas at 65 mph and on freeways in congested areas at 55 mph.
The first thing that the Ohio Department of Transportation must do is to determine what highway sections qualify as rural or non-urban interstates, spokesman Steve Faulkner said. The agency doesn’t have such a designation now, he said.
Signs also will have to be installed in areas where the speed limit will be raised to 70 mph in advance of July 1, when the law goes into effect, he said.
The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study estimates that 22 miles of interstate highways in Summit and Portage counties will qualify as rural interstates.
That mileage estimate excludes the Ohio Turnpike, where the speed limit has been 70 mph since April 2011, AMATS traffic engineer David Pulay said.
The 22 miles includes Interstate 76 in Portage County and parts of Interstate 271 in Summit County, he said.
His agency oversees federal highway projects in Summit and Portage counties, plus Chippewa Township in Wayne County.
Ohio is the 34th state to raise the speed limit to 70 mph.
Beacon Journal staff writer Bob Downing contributed to this report.