Motorists who drive through a business to avoid road construction may be taking a shortcut to a traffic citation.

Motorists who drive through a business to avoid road construction may be taking a shortcut to a traffic citation.

Shortcutting is illegal, according to Hilliard city code. Ordinance 331.41 (b) states, "No person shall operate a vehicle across public or private property for the purpose of avoiding compliance with a traffic control device."

Since construction began on the Triangle Project, Hilliard police have started cracking down on shortcutting. For example, from June 16-23, eight people were cited for shortcutting to avoid traffic on Main Street and Scioto Darby Road.

"It's happening at the Speedway, at the Donatos, and we've heard about it at the (Hilliard United) Methodist Church," said Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis. "This has been a problem that's been ongoing even prior to the Triangle Project."

Francis said the law has "been on the books a long time. It's there because there are a lot of people who don't want to wait for a traffic signal to turn. If you have a gas station like that Speedway station, you've got driveway access on Main Street and Scioto Darby Road. The light turns red, you don't want to wait for the traffic, so you just cut through the business lot to avoid the traffic signal and continue on your way. It's been very common at the Speedway station."

"When the traffic starts backing up, they'll whip a quick right there at Speedway, go through the lot and Donatos and hit that alley, then cut back down to Scioto Darby, and they'll avoid that light altogether," said HPD community relations officer Hyda Slone.

However, the people that do that are creating a dangerous situation, Francis said, because of the pedestrians using the lot. For example, some cars are cutting between the gas pumps, and the church has a preschool.

"It's a tremendous inconvenience for any property owner to assume the role of a roadway on their private lot," Francis said.

Other hazards are the vehicles that shortcut are going faster than a normal vehicle on the property, and the driver that shortcuts tends to inspire others to follow suit.

Francis said he has been timing how long it takes to get through the intersection, and it's always been less than five minutes, even during the construction.

"I've been extremely pleased with the detour It's been safe, people are getting through in a timely fashion. The biggest problem we've identified so far with this entire Triangle Project has been the shortcutting. That's why we're out there enforcing those laws, to try to prohibit that in the future."

When the roundabout is completed and the traffic signal is gone, that time should be even less, avoiding the need to shortcut.

"The biggest thing I can ask the public is to be patient," Francis said. "Every road project delays traffic for a while, and we're just asking for patience."

And if you are caught shortcutting, you'll face a $115 fine, Slone said.

"If you want to shortcut through the lot, then you need to stop at Speedway and buy a Diet Coke before you exit on the other side," Francis said. "That's my best piece of advice."