NEW PHILADELPHIA — Commissioners have taken steps to lower the speed limit on E. State Road near Newcomerstown from 45 mph to 40 mph.

On Wednesday, the board passed a resolution requesting the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on a 1.417-mile stretch of the highway, from just east of state Route 258 to the Panhandle rail line tracks near the Newcomerstown McDonald's restaurant. The road is partly a county road and partly a village street.

County Engineer Joe Bachman met with commissioners about the speed limit request, which follows a speed study analysis by Mastermind Inc., which specializes in speed zone studies. The county paid $1,400 for the report.

The study supported a lower speed limit.

"The county does not have the authority to set speed limits on their own roads," Bachman said in explaining the need for the resolution. "That has to be done by the director of the Department of Transportation."

The reason for that is to make sure that speed limits are relatively consistent across the state.

The lower speed limit was requested by Newcomerstown Mayor Pat Cadle.

"We asked the county to lower the speed limit on County Road 15 (East State Road) to slow down the traffic, especially at the railroad tracks where the new Taco Bell is being constructed," Mayor Cadle said. "The Village has lowered the speed limit to 25 mph from the tracks to SR 36. Both speed limits are create a safer road for both drivers and pedestrians who live, drive, and walk on that road."

The study took into account such factors as the number of public intersections on the highway, the number of driveways, the prevailing speed, traffic counts and accident history, Bachman said.

With the commissioners' resolution approved, it will be submitted to ODOT. ODOT will formally review it and then take action.

"Hopefully they will declare that to be 40 mph, and then between us and Newcomerstown, we will get 40 mph speed zones up there and it will be legally enforceable," Bachman said.