Johnstown Village Council members discussed a good news/bad news situation with U.S. Route 62 traffic on the east side of the village at Commerce Boulevard industrial park during their Tuesday meeting

Johnstown Village Council members discussed a good news/bad news situation with U.S. Route 62 traffic on the east side of the village at Commerce Boulevard industrial park during their Tuesday meeting

Village manager Judy Edwards said the village has received a number of complaints about back-ups of westbound traffic near the industrial park, caused largely by a number of employees at Thirty One Gifts, a new tenant at the park that has enjoyed more success than expected.

"The residents preface it with, 'I'm glad Johnstown is growing, but ," Edwards told council. "The biggest issue going on right now is our traffic issue at Commerce Boulevard and U.S. Route 62."

Traffic is also constricted on the south side of the village while a bridge is being replaced, but that construction should end in October.

Edwards and other village representatives will meet Oct. 1 at District 5 of the Ohio Department of Transportation with ODOT, the Ohio Department of Development, the county commissioners and the Licking County Area Transportation Study consortium to discuss traffic lights, turn lanes and other means of improving traffic flow.

Edwards said the village has had studies done to address traffic issues. Possible fixes include traffic signals, turn lanes, new connector roads and restrictions such as turn in/turn out limitations that would prevent left turns across traffic.

"We've had traffic studies done, traffic counts done, traffic engineering done, estimates from our engineers, as far as costs are concerned," Edwards said. "We've pretty much been told by the county that they will put a light in at Sportsman's Club Road and Route 62.

"The problem is that Commerce Boulevard is located in close proximity to Sportsman's Club, and that creates a number of traffic engineering and safety issues."

Edward said Thirty One estimated 65 employees when it opened in Johnstown last fall, and now has more than 400 employees.

"The park has been growing," Edwards said. "There was a vacant building there that Thirty One occupied last fall that's now filled with three other entities, so we are seeing some heavy traffic there. Thirty One is funding a special duty officer to cover their heavy times, which might or might not coincide with the other folks in the industrial park."

One engineering difficulty is that traffic lights should not be placed close together, so it is not possible to put traffic lights both at Sportsman's Club Road and Commerce Boulevard, Edwards said.

"Putting a light in at Commerce creates a serious safety issue at Sportsman's Club, and Sportsman's Club services the entire county," Edwards said. "It goes clear into Newark and beyond. It's a rural road, but it's heavy traffic. Thirty One has a good number of employees from Newark, Hanover, and they will come the Sportsman's Club way instead of dropping down to state Route 16 and over."

Edwards said the park is losing one business, Atria. The window manufacturer was sole supplier to M/I Homes, which has decided to close its business in light of the residential construction slowdown.

But Thirty One and another business, Atrium, are going strong, and the Atria property is under contract with still another commercial tenant.

It is likely that Sportsman's Club Road will be made into a 90-degree intersection, Edwards said, rather than the current 45-degree junction with U.S. Route 62.

"We have a lot of odd angled intersections in Licking County," Edwards said. "The plan would be to clean up the intersection, make it a firm T-angle, to make it safe. Commerce would have to be right in, right out only. So we're working on funding a connector between Commerce and Sportsman's Club."