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Snafu on Texas 360 in Grapevine may erase some speeding fines

GRAPEVINE — A couple dozen motorists may have paid speeding tickets unnecessarily because of a legal glitch on a Grapevine highway.

The main lanes of Texas 360 in Grapevine, along the western border of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, opened nearly three years ago. The Texas Department of Transportation set the speed limit at 60 mph, based upon a customary engineering study. Signs were posted on the two miles of highway between Glade Road and Texas 121 reflecting that speed limit.

But because of an apparent oversight, the speed limit was not ratified by a Grapevine city ordinance. The Grapevine City Council is expected to close the loophole tonight.

State law generally requires the approval of cities before speed limits on highways in their jurisdiction can be enforced, transportation department spokesman Val Lopez said.

The mistake was discovered by a prosecutor in a recent traffic court case, city traffic engineer Ramana Chinnakotla said. “It just fell through the cracks. It was such a small section of highway,” he said.

Speeding tickets written on that section of 360 in Grapevine since the main lanes opened may not hold up in court, officials said. But many motorists may have already paid their fines.

At least 23 speeding tickets were written prior to Tuesday’s action, Chinnakotla said. Officials are researching whether those drivers are due a refund.

The problem apparently is limited to the portion of Texas 360 in Grapevine. The highway also cuts through Euless, but officials in that city approved the speed limit in early 2006.

Staff Writer Jessica DeLeon contributed to this story.