Motorists traveling along Gahanna's roughly four-mile stretch of Interstate 270 will see a greater police presence in the next few weeks.

Motorists traveling along Gahanna's roughly four-mile stretch of Interstate 270 will see a greater police presence in the next few weeks.

Gahanna police Lt. Ethan Moffitt said as of Oct. 13, 159 crashes had occurred within Gahanna's portion of the interstate this year.

Police Lt. Jeff Spence said it's the police department's intent to reduce the number of crashes with increased visibility.

"Ultimately, it is our responsibility for motorist safety," he said.

Moffitt said many residents have a misconception that the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Franklin County Sheriff's Office or some other agency handles the freeway, but the Gahanna Division of Police has the primary responsibility for the response to crashes and other incidents.

"Many times, multiple officers must respond (to freeway accidents) due to the severity of crashes and the number of vehicles involved," he added.

Gahanna covers the roadway from just north of Broad Street to around Interstate 670, and north of there between I-670 and the McCutcheon Road overpass.

The police department also covers a portion of the McCutcheon overpass to about the Easton Way exit, Moffitt said.

Last year through September, he said, Gahanna had 140 crashes along the interstate.

"We're slightly up," he said regarding 2016.

Moffitt said the freeway crashes in 2015 accounted for slightly more than 26 percent of all the crashes that Gahanna officers handled.

"It's our responsibility to handle freeway accidents out there," he said. "Generally, distracted driving, excessive speed and reckless operation are common factors relating to crashes on our freeways."

Fortunately, Moffitt said, no fatalities have occurred along Gahanna's stretch of the interstate this year or in 2015.

He said the top complaint among residents is speeding through residential neighborhoods.

When accidents occur on the freeway, though, officers who normally would patrol neighborhoods and other parts of Gahanna are needed to assist in the crash response, often for an extended period of time, he said.

"We have to use our officers prudently," Moffitt said.

He said he hopes the effort to reduce freeway crashes will allow the division to keep more officers in neighborhoods.

Moffitt said the increased police presence would occur during the work week at periodic times around morning and evening rush hours.

@ThisWeekMarla