Speed limits will rise on more Ohio highways this weekend.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is raising speed limits on limited stretches of rural state and U.S. highways starting Sunday. The move is a continuation of a partial relaxing of limits that began July 1 on rural sections of interstate highways.
Roads affected include U.S. 68 north, within and just south of Springfield (where limits are rising to 70 miles per hour), Ohio 4 in southwestern Clark County (70 mph), U.S. 36 within parts of Greenville (60 mph), U.S. 35 east of Xenia (70 mph), U.S. 40 east of Springfield (60 mph), while stretches of U.S. 42 and Ohio 73 in northeastern Warren County (around Corwin and Harveysburg) will rise to 55 mph.
U.S. 42 south from Xenia to Corwin — except for Spring Valley — will see a 60 mph limit.
Some of the new limits are brief and bump up against each other. Ohio 73 just north and east of Wilmington will have two stretches seeing changes: 65 mph north of Wilmington before falling to 55 mph just east of the city.
No roads in Montgomery County will see new limits, according to ODOT. Limits remain the same in urban areas.
Speed limits are increasing on 607 miles of roads, ODOT said. Look for new limits on rural divided highways to 60 mph (194 miles of road), rural expressways without traffic control signals to 65 mph (15 miles of roads) and rural freeways to 70 mph (398 miles of road).
The legislation behind the speed limit changes allows for both cars and truck to go the same speed on any Ohio roadway. Speed limits on some roadways may stay the same for cars, but will increase for trucks, ODOT said.
Jack Shaner, deputy director of the Ohio Environmental Council, doesn’t think the changes are a great idea. Higher speed limits will get drivers to destinations faster, but there could be consequences, he said.
“This really sped through the Legislature, (with) pretty compacted debate and not enough attention given to the ramifications,” Shaner said. “The more you step on that pedal, the more junk comes out of the tail pipe.”
More fuel will be used, he said. Crashes that happen may be worse at higher speeds. And, unfortunately, many drivers are speeding already, he added.
“The guy who yesterday was already five miles over the speed limit will now be 10 miles over the limit,” Shaner said.
Jerry Wray, ODOT director, said the agency weighed the limits carefully.
“Raising speed limits is not something the state takes lightly,” Wray said in a statement. “We put much time and consideration into identifying roadways where speed limits could increase while maintaining a safe commute for Ohio motorists.”
Maj. Kirk Keller, of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, is taking a wait-and-see approach to see how motorists react to the new limits.
“How the drivers react to that change will tell the tale whether it’s a problem or not,” he said.
Keller said U.S. 35 east of Xenia has usually not been a problem area for accidents.
Affected roadways by county
Clark: Ohio 4 between I-70 and 40 will be 70 mph.
Clark: U.S. 68 from just north of Clark/Champaign line to just south of I-70 will be 70 mph.
Clark: U.S. 40 east of Springfield will be 60 mph.
Butler: Small portion of U.S. 27 near Fairfield will be 60 mph.
Greene: U.S. 35 east of Xenia will now be 70 mph
Greene/Warren: Ohio 42 from Waynesville to Xenia will now be 50 mph.
Warren: Parts of Ohio 42 and Ohio 73 will now be 55 mph.
Mercer and Auglaize: Ohio 29 between Celina and Wapakoneta will be 65 mph.
Logan: U.S. 33 between Huntsville and Bellefontaine will be 65 mph, then 70 mph through and south of Bellefontaine.
Darke: U.S. 127 through Greenville will now be 60 mph
There were no changes in Miami, Montgomery or Preble counties.
Speed limits: To see interactive maps showing which roads got new speed limits, go to MyDaytonDailyNews.com