Residents of the Bainbridge Mills neighborhood continue to push Liberty Township to find solutions for traffic safety issues -- and officials continue to say there are no easy answers.
Liberty Township trustees discussed a proposal at last week's meeting to disconnect Bainbridge Mills Drive from Sawmill Parkway and connect it to Sawmill Road, slightly farther north. Residents of the neighborhood, which is less than a mile north of Summit View Road, have pushed for a new entrance and exit to their community since 2005, going before the board of trustees multiple times.
Township Administrator Dave Anderson said a previous study by Delaware County had concluded it would cost roughly $500,000 to disconnect Bainbridge Mills Drive from Sawmill Parkway and connect it to Sawmill Road.
"The county engineer's office has sole jurisdiction over Sawmill Parkway, and disconnecting that from the road would require their permission and assistance as well," he said.
Anderson said county officials have made it clear they would not oppose the change, but they also do not plan to spend county money on the project. He said the township agrees safety is an issue at the intersection, but the township does not have a road levy or another source of funding to pay for the project.
Neighborhood residents told township officials they believed the county's initial cost estimate was high. They added that a planned Target store on Sawmill Parkway would only make congestion issues worse.
Trustee Melanie Leneghan said she was not opposed to asking the county for another traffic study or estimate, but added she was unsure of how the township could fund such a large project for one neighborhood.
"I would love to say, 'Sure, here's $500,000 for 72 homes in Bainbridge Mills,' " she said. "I doubt that there's a neighborhood in this community that wouldn't like money to make it safer."
She said even if the cost of the project were reduced by half, it would remain cost-prohibitive.
The trustees ultimately agreed to reach out to county officials to see if a new traffic study or cost estimate were feasible.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said she had experienced heavy traffic at the intersection firsthand and sympathized with the residents.
"I live in the neighborhood next door ... and every time I try to go out there, it's a nightmare," Eichhorn said.