Residents who live along three roads with high-volume truck traffic will know by the end of the year if the state has approved funding to help upgrade the narrow and rural Saltzgaber, Swisher and Toy roads.

Franklin County and Madison Township, with support from the city of Groveport, submitted two applications for Ohio Public Works Commission loans and grants totaling more than $1.4 million.

OPWC programs include infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, water and stormwater projects.

Residents have been waiting for relief for years as the number of semi-trucks traveling the three roads increased as the number of warehouses in the area also increased.

"Part of there being two applications is we don't want to fall into the same trap we fell into last year," said Fritz Crosier, chief deputy engineer for the Franklin County Engineer's Office.

In 2018, Groveport 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 because the project relied on the success of a public-private partnership with a potential developer who was willing to bring a substantial financial contribution to the project.

That developer, Van Trust Real Estate LLC, was ready to invest approximately $1.1 million in the project, but the deal fell through after unsuccessful attempts to acquire real estate from private property owners.

"When the developer walked away, the money walked away," Crosier said. "We don't want to hitch our wagon to a developer and have something go sideways ... and have them walk again."

Paul Hemmer Cos. of Cincinnati has plans 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.

According to the OWPC application, Hemmer would provide nearly $1.1 million of the total $2.3 million project cost to reconstruct Saltzgaber, making it three lanes, and upgrade the intersection at Groveport Road.

In addition, the plan calls for creating turnarounds for truck traffic on Toy Road just east of Centerpoint Parkway and resurfacing and improving drainage on Toy, Saltzgaber and Swisher roads.

One OPWC application is for a grant of more than $700,000, with additional funding from the Franklin County Engineer's Office ($390,000), Madison Township ($100,000) and Groveport ($97,795).

The second application, which does not include proposed funding from Hemmer, totals $730,500 and would not include the reconstruction of Saltzgaber Road.

Typically, the OPWC announces funding approvals in mid- to late December, Crosier said.

"We owe it to the residents there that we are cognizant of their concerns and we're trying to create a failsafe situation here where both applications score well and are competitive and it keeps our options open," Crosier said.

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 cutting the speed limit from 45 mph to 40 mph on Swisher Road. Madison Township installed signs reflecting the change in April.

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