ODOT Crews "White Out" Signs to Save Time and Money

COLUMBUS (Tuesday, June 30, 2009) - As a change in state law to allow most trucks to go 65 miles-per-hour on many of Ohio’s interstates takes effect July 1, crews with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be saving time and money in their efforts to update hundreds of speed limit signs across the state.

As part of House Bill 2 (the 2010-2011 State Transportation Budget) passed in April, Ohio lawmakers increased the speed limit on mostly rural and suburban interstates for large motor vehicles (trucks) and noncommercial buses from 55 mph to 65 mph, matching the speed of cars and other motor vehicles.

The change applies only to interstates - not U.S. Routes, State Routes or other multi-lane divided highways - where currently the speed limits are split between 65 mph and 55 mph.

Changing the speed limit required the changing of hundreds of speed limit signs, and ODOT has implemented a number of cost efficiencies that will have a majority of the signs changed in just one day.

Exact figures on the number of signs being changed won’t be available until after the work is done.

In many cases, crews will simply use a reflective white material overlay to cover the bottom section of the 7-feet-by-6-feet signs where it reads 55 mph. This "white out" approach can be done much faster - and more cost effectively - than taking down the sign, removing the existing beam supports, and installing a new 65 mph sign.

At many other locations, the signs are already separated - one sign for 65 mph and another for 55 mph for vehicles weighing more than 4 tons empty. The outdated signs and posts will simply be removed.

In cases where new signs are required, ODOT crews have already installed several new speed limit signs behind the original signs. On July 1, the crews will return long enough to remove the old speed limit signs.

ODOT has coordinated this major effort with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Trucking Association. With this systematic method, ODOT crews should be able to complete the switch of most signs on July 1, without the need for costly overtime. All remaining signs will be completed on July 2.