By Rick Palsgrove
This summer airplanes will be speedily flying through the air in a spectacular air show, but the traffic on the ground below may be snarled and slow.
A highly anticipated event, The Columbus Air Show Presented by Scotts, will be held on June 16, 17, and 18, at Rickenbacker International Airport, 2241 John Circle Drive, Columbus. It is the first air show in Columbus in about 20 years. The last show attracted more than 150,000 visitors, according to air show officials.
Police concerned about traffic
The volume of visitors to the air show and accompanying traffic on the area roads in and around Groveport are a concern for Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams.
Adams said that, in meetings earlier this year with those involved with the air show regarding traffic flow, he believes only the roads in and around Rickenbacker were addressed and not how the roads in the city of Groveport would be impacted.
“The only discussion and planning in regards to our city roads was a request that all traffic on Port Road, north of East London-Groveport Road (State Route 317) be directed north and not permitted to enter the East London-Groveport Road corridor,” said Adams. “This would also include our GREAT transportation buses (shuttle buses owned and operated by the city of Groveport used to get workers to the warehouses) that use the Marathon gas station parking lot at the corner of East London-Groveport Road and Alum Creek Drive.”
Adams also questioned on how traffic would be handled on Hayes Road and Pontius Road.
He noted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Columbus Police may not have officers available to help in the area because there are other big events that draw large crowds happening in central Ohio on the days of the air show – including Pride Fest in downtown Columbus.
Adams said the Groveport Police are planning to increase traffic patrol during the days of the air show, including mandated overtime requiring two extra Groveport Police patrol units from 6-10 a.m.; one extra patrol unit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; two extra patrol units from 2-6 p.m.
“This extra patrol will be responsible for keeping traffic flowing as normal as possible along State Route 317, Groveport Road, and the roads that lead in and out of the warehouses surrounding the airport,” said Adams. “The extra patrol will also handle calls for service at the warehouses, handle traffic complaints, and any auto accidents that may affect traffic flow during the air show times.”
Adams said it is his understanding the overtime pay for Groveport Police officers will not be reimbursed by the air show.
An information packet will also be distributed to the area warehouses to let the employers and employees there know what issues may arise when it comes to deliveries or workers getting to and from work.
Adams said he hopes there will be future briefings among those involved to discuss the traffic issues further.
About the air show
Tickets for the air show are available online at www.ColumbusAirShow.com. Visit www.ColumbusAirShow.com for information and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Performers and attractions at the air show include: the United States Navy Blue Angels; the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor; Ohio Air National Guard; the United States Marine Corps C-130 “Fat Albert”; the B-17 “Yankee Lady from the Yankee Air Museum; an F-5 Tiger; the C-47 “Hairless Joe from the Yankee Air Museum; the B-25 “Rosie’s Reply” from the Yankee Air Museum; the P-51 Mustang “Old Crow” based in Central Ohio; and more.
There will also be ground displays, air racing, exhibits, civilian superstars, vintage aircraft, and other experiences.