Residents who have complained about high-volume truck traffic along the narrow and rural Saltzgaber, Swisher and Toy roads may see relief over the next year.
Now that a developer has committed to building two new warehouses in the area, residents could see work begin this summer on road improvements, according to Fritz Crosier, chief deputy engineer for the Franklin County Engineer's Office.
The Ohio Public Works Commission has approved a grant sought in September by Franklin County and Madison Township, with support from the city of Groveport. According to the applications, the total cost of the road project is estimated at $2.35 million.
Crosier said the approved OPWC grant for more than $700,000 go toward the road improvements, along with $390,000 from the Franklin County Engineer's Office, nearly $98,000 from Groveport and $100,000 from Madison Township. The Paul Hemmer Cos. of Cincinnati, which plans to build the two warehouses, also will contribute nearly $1.1 million to the road project.
OPWC programs include infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, water and stormwater projects.
"It takes a tremendous amount of coordination, but we're taking it the long way to make sure it does get done," Crosier said of the project. "I know how frustrating it can be for the residents to be told something's going to happen, and then, for whatever reason, it doesn't. We felt good about this solution, and up to this point, it seems to be working very well."
Last fall, Groveport City Council approved the Hemmer Cos.' proposal 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.
The road project includes reconstructing Saltzgaber to make it three lanes and upgrading the intersection at Groveport Road with turn lanes.
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.
Residents have been waiting for help for years as the number of semitrucks traveling the three roads increased because the number of warehouses in the area also increased.
Crosier indicated the reconstruction of Saltzgaber Road is expected to begin this summer because developers hope to open the warehouses in November.
Hemmer's vice president of real-estate development, Adam Hemmer, did not return calls seeking an update on the project.
Road-maintenance and drainage improvements along Toy and Swisher roads likely will not happen until spring 2021 due to right-of-way requirements, Crosier said.
"That process alone will take some time to acquire that land, and by the time we do that, it will be late enough in the year and it would be best to wait until next spring," he said.
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, 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, VanTrust Real Estate LLC, was ready to invest approximately $1.1 million in the project, but the deal fell through after attempts to acquire real estate from private property owners were unsuccessful.