Halted project leaves "ramp to nowhere"
Plans for constructing an extension on Galloway Road over the Conrail railroad tracks were scrapped several years ago, when land for much of the project couldn’t be acquired.
In the meantime, traffic continues to build up along Hilliard-Rome Road, much to the dismay of residents and motorists stuck in long lines when a train is passing through the area.
In recent weeks, residents near the crossing have become vocal, going as far as taking their complaints to the Westland Area Commission, which will be updating its comprehensive area plan next year.
The current plan was developed and approved by the city in 1994 as a tool to ensure quality development and a proper mix of residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and recreation/open space land uses.
Among the recommendations were several high-priority roadway widenings, including that of Galloway Road from Hilliard-Rome Road to Alkire Road.
This particular recommendation has become the target of complaints of some area residents who say they were told 13 years ago that this would be done in 15 years and who have been asking where the extension or overpass stands.
Dan Province, who was chairman of WAC at the time of the development of the current Westland Area Plan, recalls the discussions and work that went into these recommendations.
“In general, when they built the subdivision of apartments (south of the railroad tracks), the builder deeded over the land to the city for future development of a Galloway Road extension,” said Province, who left the Westland area in 1999 and now lives in northern Franklin County.
However, plans hit a snag when the owners of the farm north of the tracks refused to sell the land for a road to connect with Hilliard-Rome Road.
Other recommendations in that plan included widening Norton Road from West Broad Street to Alkire Road. Norton Road has been widened, but was a few years behind its original goal, Province said.
“The 15-year target was very optimistic,” he said of talk of a way to bypass the traffic jams at the railroad crossing on Hilliard-Rome Road.
Right now the project doesn’t appear on the radar screen for Columbus, which has experienced several financial problems in recent months.
It appears from a distance that work had begun toward building a base for an overpass from Galloway Road.
A mound of dirt sits high above the housing units on either side of what would have been an extension of Galloway Road.
That road dead ends a few hundred feet past the elementary school on Galloway Road north of West Broad Street. Behind a guard rail barricade lies an open space that leads to the mound of dirt.
It’s evident that the mound has been there for quite a while. It is packed tightly and has marks on top that resemble tracks on a bulldozer.
WAC members, especially Patricia Brown, who chairs the Planning and Development Committee and will be heading the updating of the Westland Area Plan next year, have promised to look into the status of a bypass of the railroad crossing on Hilliard-Rome Road.
Residents interested in this project can attend the next WAC meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the first-floor conference room at Doctors Hospital, 5100 W. Broad St.