Ohio Cashes In On Freeway With Artificially Low Speed Limit

Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories like this one every week:

All this week, packs of Columbus-based officers on white motorcycles have been prowling Akron’s freeways, handing out tickets faster than a political candidate distributing fliers at a football game.

During the first three days alone: 600 citations.

At best, this is dirty pool. At worst, it is dangerous.

Dirty pool? Absolutely. Many of those tickets have been written on the recently revamped stretch of Interstate 77 that runs from Copley Road to the northern city limits.

As I reported in February, the speed limit on that new segment is now inappropriately low — so much so that the Ohio Department of Transportation has been trying to raise it from 55 mph to 65.

Thus far, those efforts have failed because of a quirk in a 1996 law that made 65 mph the default on Ohio’s interstates. We’ll spare you the gory details, which were reported earlier, but suffice it to say ODOT believes the 55-mph signs left over from the pre-widening days are outdated in the wake of the $64 million widening project completed late last year.

Today, the West Leg of the Akron Expressway might be the nicest, safest stretch of urban freeway in the entire state. It features three flat, straight, wide lanes in each direction, enormous berms and a stout concrete median.

So here we are, stuck with an artificially low speed limit, and where does the Ohio Highway Patrol choose to unleash a ticket-writing frenzy?


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