Traffic for Hilliard's Fourth of July concert and fireworks display at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park can be a challenge under optimal conditions.
This year's conditions will not be optimal.
Construction on Scioto Darby Road between Bradford Drive and Cosgray Road could create congestion, as could the closure of Leppert Road from the Heritage Rail Trail crossing south to Scioto Darby for widening and other improvements. In addition, Veterans Memorial Drive – Municipal Park's primary access road – has been closed since April 30 for construction of a roundabout at Scioto Darby.
The reopening dates of the closed roads are not specific "due to the variability of construction, weather and other factors," said Letty Schamp, Hilliard's deputy city engineer. Leppert Road, which closed June 4, could be open by the middle of July, she said, but the Veterans Memorial roundabout has "way too much" work involved to estimate a completion date, she said.
The roundabout at Leppert and Scioto Darby roads will take longer than the remainder of Leppert Road, Schamp said, but the intersection will be open when Hilliard City Schools resumes classes Aug. 22.
Scioto Darby Road will remain open for east-west traffic.
The roundabout will be completed by Aug. 22 or a temporary traffic signal would be placed there until the roundabout is completed, Schamp said.
Updates will be posted at hilliardohio.gov, she said.
Meanwhile, the city is taking several initiatives to mitigate any potential traffic jams July 4, Schamp said. The measures will include temporary access for pedestrians along Veterans Memorial Drive and a shuttle from the Franklin County Fairgrounds, where patrons can park.
"We are working with Hilliard police and the city's recreation and parks department to coordinate pedestrian access to the park at Veterans Memorial Drive," Schamp said. "We will be working with our contractor to 'button up' the work zone and to provide a safe place for pedestrians to cross Scioto Darby Road near Veterans Memorial Drive and at the Hellbranch Trail crossing near Hoffman Farms.
"We know that the construction on Scioto Darby Road and Leppert Road is going to be an inconvenience to our community during the Fourth of July festivities.
"We encourage our residents to walk to Municipal Park using the Hellbranch Trail, which connects from the Heritage Rail Trail to Frank's Park or to use the shuttle service that is being provided."
The changes could in fact alleviate congestion, she said.
"Every year, (police) usually shut down Scioto Darby Road between Veterans Memorial and the west park driveway an hour or so before, during and immediately after the fireworks, so I don't anticipate any more congestion due to the construction project," Schamp said.
Beth Simon, interim director of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, said a shuttle service would be provided between the fairgrounds and a school driveway on the north side of Scioto Darby Road, near Memorial Middle School, 5600 Scioto Darby Road.
Four 55-passenger buses and a 26-passenger bus will be used, she said.
Four stops are planned at the fairgrounds between Northwest Parkway and Columbia Street.
"We will have signs posted designating stops based on where you park," she said.
The shuttles are scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to midnight July 4," she said.
Parking in the vicinity of Municipal Park likely will be be a challenge, city officials said.
The lots at Hilliard Darby High School and Heritage and Memorial middle schools are not expected to be available, said Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard.