The Ohio Department of Transportation expects to have most signs advising of new truck speed limits on Ohio interstates posted by the end of today, but will save money by blanking out the truck limit on certain signs rather than replacing the signs.
Across the state, speed limits for cars and trucks will be the same as of early this morning, ending Ohio's practice of capping the limit for trucks and private buses at 55 mph on many roads where cars are allowed 60 or 65 mph.
But the change, enacted as part of the 2010-2011 State Transportation Budget, applies only to freeways that are part of the interstate system - not other four-lane divided highways like State Rt. 2 east of Port Clinton or U.S. 23 between I-475 and the Ohio-Michigan border.
The latter means that law-abiding truckers still will have to reduce to 55 mph for about three miles of U.S. 23 in Sylvania before accelerating to 65 on I-475 or 60 in Michigan, ODOT spokesman Theresa Pollick said.
The new truck limit also does not apply to stretches of freeway where the car speed limit is already 55 mph or lower. Most freeways within Toledo's city limits have a 60-mph speed limit for cars, commercial buses, and light trucks. That is the limit that will apply to all traffic starting today.
Many current signs along Ohio freeways list the 65-55 limits on a single placard that explains that the lower limit applies to trucks weighing more than 4 tons and noncommercial buses. Taking down those signs and replacing them with simpler "Speed Limit 65" signs would be costly and time-consuming, ODOT said, so state crews instead will paste over the truck portion of those signs with reflective white material.
The Ohio Turnpike took a similar approach to its signs when it eliminated the lower speed limit for trucks and private buses five years ago as part of a campaign to entice truckers using secondary routes to come back to the toll road.
In cases where a truck speed-limit sign is separate from the main sign, ODOT said, the truck sign will be removed.
Pasting over the truck portions of consolidated signs, however, will enable state crews to do nearly all sign work in one day without incurring overtime, officials said.
Any signs not removed or altered today will be addressed tomorrow.