By Linda Dillman
A Madison Township hot spot for traffic accidents is getting a makeover following an announcement that the Winchester Pike/Shannon/Ebright roads intersection will receive an interim renovation sometime in 2014.
Franklin County traffic engineer Michael Meeks said the project is in the design phase and includes a traffic signal and “a little” road widening along Winchester Pike. The county plans to return to the area in 2016 for more extensive renovations of the intersection.
“There have been a lot of accidents there,” Meeks said during the Madison Township trustees’ Jan. 15 meeting. “As the designs for the interim project are completed, we’ll know more (construction timeline).”
Meeks asked for police help in increasing enforcement throughout the project.
“It’s a dangerous intersection,” said resident Tim Fritchen, whose son was injured in a multi-car accident at the intersection on Dec. 22.
Resident Charlene Nutter said the situation has grown worse with the construction of apartment developments and when Ebright Road was closed at U.S. Route 33.
“Something needs to be done,” Nutter said. “I’m really glad the Franklin County engineers have taken a look at that (the intersection). I do like that Mr. Meeks asked for increased police patrols.”
Other road issues
Meeks discussed truck traffic on Toy Road and a traffic study for a number of streets in Blacklick Estates.
He said traffic counts at six intersections in Blacklick Estates indicated the number of vehicles does not warrant multi-stop changes suggested by the township.
“We found none of the intersections met the standards,” Meeks. “The Ohio Revised Code says you have to follow the manual. If you put in a multi-way and there’s an accident, the township has a liability issue.”
Frustrated with the results of the study, trustee Gary McDonald said Clearwater and Fullerton are thoroughfares where motorists often speed.
“They don’t slow down,” said McDonald. “There’s nothing there to slow them down. It’s gotten worse. We’re trying to get some type of barrier to slow people down. Something’s got to be done.”
Regarding restricting truck traffic on Toy and Swisher roads, Meeks said, while there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code prohibiting the township from acting on requests by residents, the Supreme Court recently struck down a case limiting truck traffic in northern Ohio.
“The courts say that’s the way it is,” Meeks said. “We spent a ton of money making Alum Creek Drive good for them (trucks). All that was done to encourage trucks to use those roads.”
McDonald asked Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst if the township could limit truck traffic by installing weight limits. Brobst said police officers would need additional equipment to weigh the trucks, the township would need to conduct a study of all roads and police would need to be able to respond 24/7 to pull a truck over for weighing.
The township is in the process of installing signage directing trucks to the Alum Creek corridor.
“One thing we haven’t done yet is to ask the chiefs to talk to the dock managers (at local warehouses),” Brobst said. “There’s just absolutely no way, in talking with the lawyers, that we can eliminate all of the truck traffic. Unfortunately, times are changing and roads can’t handle the traffic, but we’re in a Catch-22 situation.”