Residents who live along roads with high-volume truck traffic in and around warehouses in the Groveport area have been waiting for relief for years and adapting to conditions.
"When I take the trash out on a Thursday morning, I wear reflective yellow because you can get hit by the traffic out there," said Douglas Culp, whose property sits at Toy Road and Centerpoint Parkway.
From Rocky Kisner's home near Swisher and Toy roads, he's seen firsthand just how challenging the narrow roads can be for semitrailer drivers.
"I've called (police) and told them I'm sitting here watching a telephone pole being bent over because the truck can't make the turn at Swisher and Toy," he said.
Another resident said he had replaced 11 mailboxes.
The three residents were among those who attended a June 4 informational meeting held by Franklin County engineer Cornell Robertson, whose office is leading efforts to calm traffic in an area that once was vast farmland until commercial development moved in.
Even though signs along Toy, Swisher and Saltzgaber roads direct semitrailer traffic to use alternate routes, including Alum Creek Drive, drivers continue to use the roads that were not meant to handle such traffic.
A traffic study conducted in 2018 showed Toy Road handles 1,550 vehicles a day. Saltzgaber Road handles 1,350, and Swisher Road is used by 450.
Also last year, a speed study resulted in reducing the speed limit from 45 mph to 40 on Swisher Road. Madison Township installed signs in April.
The preliminary plan presented June 4 to residents by Fritz Crosier, chief deputy engineer for the Franklin County Engineer's Office, includes resurfacing all roadways, drainage improvements and the consideration of speed humps to discourage nonlocal traffic.
Madison Township, Groveport and Obetz share jurisdiction in the area.
To limit truck traffic, the plan calls for closing Toy Road, just east of Centerpoint Parkway, and creating "turnarounds" for truck traffic to the west and residential traffic, including trash haulers and school buses to the east, with access for emergency vehicles.
Construction could begin next summer and would take "a couple months," said Crosier, who added that a study could determine if Toy Road should be closed permanently.
The engineer's office has hired SJCA Engineers & Surveyors, headquartered in Indianapolis, to develop plans and cost estimates for construction. Funding for the project would come from local governments and the Ohio Public Works Commission if the application is approved.
Groveport applied for and received a $1.57 million OPWC grant and loan to help fund a $2.8 million project to reconstruct Toy Road between Centerpoint Parkway and Swisher Road.
However, in an April letter, the city turned down the funding.
"The success of the project relied on a public-private partnership with a potential developer who was willing to bring a substantial financial contribution to the project, pending their successful negotiation for acquisition of adjacent real estate with several private property owners," the letter stated. "That negotiation was unsuccessful, and after a period of our continued conversation with the developer, they advised us their project is no longer financially viable and thus they cannot bring the financial contribution to the project."
The developer, Van Trust Real Estate LLC, was ready to invest approximately $1.1 million in the project, Groveport city engineer Steve Farst said.
Residents who attended the meeting also learned that Paul Hemmer Cos. of Cincinnati wants to build a pair of warehouses -- one 275,000 square feet and the other 240,500 square feet -- on more than 27 acres on the east side of Saltzgaber Road south of Groveport Road.
Hemmer's proposal, including rezoning the land from rural to planned industrial park, was reviewed by Groveport's Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended that City Council not approve it.
The rezoning was on the agenda for council's June 10 meeting.