By Rick Palsgrove
Plans are in the works to potentially reconstruct a portion of Toy Road to improve the roadway and to alleviate traffic problems on the narrow country road.
At a public hearing on Aug. 28 at the Groveport Municipal Building, representatives from the city of Groveport, Franklin County Engineer’s Office, and Madison Township presented an estimated $2.8 million plan to reconstruct about a half mile of Toy Road from Centerpoint Parkway to Swisher Road.
“This section of the road is in the city of Groveport,” said Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst.
“The road is narrow and in poor shape,” said Erik Meininger of the engineering firm EMH&T. “This proposed project involves a full depth pavement replacement.”
Meininger said the proposed project calls for this section of Toy Road to have two 12 foot wide lanes, 4 feet of shoulder on each side, a left turn lane on part of the road (but no center turn lane throughout), extension of a water line, lighting, sidewalk, and storm sewer work. Most significantly, a cul-de-sac would be constructed on Toy Road near Swisher Road to prevent through traffic on Toy Road east of Swisher Road. The cul-de-sac would be constructed to allow emergency vehicle access, but no other vehicles.
“The cul-de-sac helps address area residents’ concerns about misdirected truck traffic on the road,” said Farst. “The hope is the trucks and other traffic will use Alum Creek Drive instead.”
Fritz Crosier, chief deputy of engineering for Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson, said the construction portion of the project would allow engineers to study the impact of the closure of Toy Road at Swisher Road to see how closing the road impacts other roads and intersections in the area.
Farst said Franklin County is applying for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant and loan that could fund $1.6 million of the project. He said a private developer has agreed to fund 37 percent of the project. The city of Groveport’s portion would involve OPWC loan repayment of about $400,000.
Farst said that, if the OPWC grant is obtained, design work on the project could begin in 2019 and construction could start in the spring of 2020 with completion by the end of 2020.
Residents living on Toy Road, Saltzgaber Road, and Swisher Road have been frustrated for several years by the heavy traffic from nearby commercial warehouses that uses these narrow, formerly rural roads. They have been seeking relief from the vehicle and semi-truck traffic they say damages the roads, tears up yards, knocks over mailboxes, causes noise, generates trash, and creates congestion.
The three roads have the added problem of falling within several different government jurisdictions including Madison Township, the cities of Groveport and Obetz, and Franklin County.
At a public meeting last spring with county officials, several options for improving the roads were discussed, including constructing a roundabout at Toy and Swisher roads; resurfacing Toy, Swisher, and Saltzgaber roads and installing some turn prohibitions; and building two cul-de-sacs at different points.
When asked why the Toy Road single cul-de-sac design and this section of Toy Road were chosen for the project, Farst said, “We wanted to focus on the part of Toy Road that is in Groveport. It keeps the project in one jurisdiction and makes it easier to manage. Plus, this is a comparatively smaller project and smaller projects have a better chance of being funded.”
Farst said installing one cul-de-sac on Toy Road at Swisher Road would allow west bound drivers on Toy to go north on Swisher.
“One cul-de-sac would be less confusing for drivers, too,” said Farst.