How a detailed feature stands out

Some grammatical features seem very detailed, yet, if violated, can cause some interference just by their strangeness. Most of us want our interlocutors to focus on what we are saying, not on how we are saying it.
Here’s an example of one such feature. Do we say ‘a 45 mile an hour speed limit’ and ‘he was going 45 miles an hour’? Yes. Why not ‘miles’ plural in the first instance? And we say ‘It’s a 45 mile stretch of highway;’ why not ’45 miles?
Is it the ‘a’ before 45? I don’t know but I can imagine it must be hard for English learners to keep all that straight. Yet if someone violates the rule, it sounds odd: “There’s a 45 miles an hour speed limit on that road’ and it’s even odder to say ‘it’s a 45 miles stretch of highway’ or ‘there’s a 45 miles speed limit on that road’.

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