Weird idea du jour: Close down I-275 and have a race

Never know what’s going to turn up on the Internet(s), but today I was directed to a Web site for – apparently – car racing enthusiasts (or at least written by one). The poster thinks he may have an idea that no elected leader around here has ever had – but should have. Officials should close down Interstate 275 – the nearly 84-mile circle freeway that wraps around Cincinnati – and let cars race on it.

The Web site, “GearBits,” which bills itself as “tech, culture, ideas, opinions,” thinks it would be a “road rally for the everyman.”

As much fun as I think it would be to get the Audi out there and see how fast it could go (the manual says the governer kicks in at 130 MPH), I find this idea to be, frankly, dumb. At least Mr. Poster-man thinks his idea is “99 percent likely never to bear fruit.”

I would agree, except that maybe I’d just go ahead and round up the chances to an even 100 percent.

But in the mini-research I did for this post, I did find out that I-275, as we “locals” call it, actually is officially the “Donald H. Rolf Circle Freeway.” Come to think of it, I believe I have seen a sign to that effect along the route. And come to think of that, who the hell is Donald H. Rolf?

Rolf Way is also the longest circle freeway in the country, according to Wikipedia, and the only one to travel through three states. Who knew? I think Interstates – Rolf Way, in this case – are nice for getting to my sister’s and parents’ and grandma’s house faster, but beyond that they suck. Gimme a streetcar.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

3 thoughts on “Weird idea du jour: Close down I-275 and have a race”

  1. Joe didn’t get around to your question yet, Craig, but I’ll post the top three reasons that anyone would think it’s a dumb idea:

    1) Shutting down I-275 for an extended period of time would f**k up the traffic flow and would be damaging to the regional economy.

    2) A portion of the loop is always under some kind of construction, making it unsafe for racing.

    3) The closing of a federal highway is likely illegal and/or unconstitutional.

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