Belmont County speed limits to increase

ST.?CLAIRSVILLE — A portion of Interstate 70 in western Belmont County is one of several stretches of highway where the state of Ohio will raise the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph this summer.

The speed limit on I-70 will rise from the Indiana border in the west to exit 215, where National Road crosses over the interstate on the western edge of St. Clairsville.

The increase excludes portions of I-70 that pass through the Dayton area, Columbus and Zanesville.

In Belmont County, the speed limit will remain at 65 mph from just west of the Interstate 70-Ohio 9 interchange in St. Clairsville to the West Virginia border, according to Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Becky Giauque.

The speed limit on Interstate 470 will remain at 65 mph.

The new law takes effect July 1 and will increase the speed on 570 miles of the state’s 1,332 miles of interstate highways.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was in open talks with lawmakers throughout the legislative process, according to media contact Lt. Anne Ralston. Exempting urban areas from the change was a major sticking point with the patrol, she said, and that is reflected in the law.

Ralston anticipates the patrol will wait a couple of years before compiling statistics to see if the change has had an impact on the number of vehicle accidents.

“Our hope is that people comply with the law and drive within their abilities,” she said. “Regardless of speed, drivers are expected to maintain reasonable control over their vehicles.”

ODOT is making 317 new signs to comply with the legislation and to alert motorists to the increased speed at a total cost of $8,287.19. They include eight “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs, 48 new speed limit signs and 261 sign pieces that will overlay the current 65 number with the new speed limit.