Girard won't reimburse disputed speed tickets on I-80


Drivers who were ticketed before Jan. 7 for going above 55 miles per hour on Interstate 80 after the Ohio Department of Transportation changed the speed limit to 65 won’t be reimbursed, city Service Director Jerry Lambert said.

Construction on I-80 ended on Dec. 7, so the speed limit should have been raised back to 65 mph, but ODOT didn’t change the signs, said Brian Kren, city law director.

“The Ohio Department of Transportation allegedly made the decision to change the speed [back to 65 mph] Dec. 7, but did not change the signs until Jan. 7. The Ohio Revised Code says that any change by ODOT is effective once the sign is erected at that location,” Kren said.

So Kren maintains the speed limit was actually 55 miles per hour, as posted on the signs, from Dec. 7 to Jan. 7. He said ODOT didn’t notify the city of the change, but ODOT says it wasn’t required to tell the police department about construction zone changes on the highway.

Lambert and Kren are investigating tickets that were issued after Jan. 7, to see if anybody was improperly ticketed after the posted speed was changed to 65.

The ticket issue was brought up by resident Nicholas Besoiu at the council meeting Monday night, who said he didn’t see any orange barrels or construction vehicles during the time period in question, which he says confused drivers.

Also at the meeting, an ordinance to bill other communities for mutual and medical assistance responses from Girard’s fire department was passed 6-1. The department can charge $200 per transport to neighboring districts for use of the city’s emergency medical service, which officials said would offset costs to provide aid.

Councilman William Ryser said he voted no to the ordinance because he’s “a big supporter of mutual helpfulness” — neighboring communities supporting each other through services — and doesn’t see a pressing need to bill other communities.

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