I-70 speed limit upped to 70 mph on Monday

The interstate is six lanes from near the western Clark County line to Enon Road, where it constricts down to four lanes until Ohio 72 near the city of Springfield. There it returns to six lanes to Columbus.

An average of 55,400 vehicles travel that stretch daily, according to data from the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.

Local officials have said that creates a bottleneck, causes traffic delays during heavy commuting, hinders economic development and increases the potential for crashes. They continue to push the state to widen the 6.8-mile stretch as soon as possible.

The parameters to select where to up the speed limit were based on if the areas were considered urbanized or rural zones, said Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Faulkner in May.

In the instance of Clark County, planners encountered problems with speed limits rapidly changing from 65 mph to 70 mph and back to 65 mph, Faulkner said.

“The decision was made, instead of doing that, to just keep it at 70 mph since it doesn’t fall directly within the municipality,” he said. “You see that difference in Springfield versus, say, Findlay where the interstate system does fall more directly into the middle of the metropolitan area there for Findlay.”

ODOT recognized urbanized zones as those municipalities with 5,000 or more population, per the U.S. Census, he said.

Springfield News-Sun writer Mark McGregor contributed to this report.

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