By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Road has been an important transportation artery since its beginnings as a dirt trail leading from Columbus to southeast Ohio in the early 1800s.
Now in the 21st century, as development and traffic increases along the west Groveport Road corridor between Groveport and Obetz, area officials are making plans to improve the road to handle future demands.
Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp said Groveport officials plan to meet with village of Obetz and village of Lockbourne officials on June 7 to talk about the future needs and development of busy Groveport Road.
“With improvements spanning multiple jurisdictions, it is important to partner when identifying and planning for those improvements,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King. “A roadway system doesn’t begin and end in one jurisdiction. In order for a road system to accommodate traffic the jurisdictions where the traffic will travel through must also be part of the planning process.”
The city of Groveport contracted with the IBI Group to create a Groveport Road Corridor Study to review west Groveport Road between Groveport and Obetz from State Route 317 to Bixby Road. The report was presented to Groveport City Council on May 17 by Jim Brenneman of the IBI Group.
Brenneman noted that the western portion of the road located in Obetz is primarily residential while the eastern portion located in Groveport is mostly commercial/industrial.
There are several large vacant parcels of land still to be developed along the road. He said the average daily traffic count for west Groveport Road in 2020 was 11,000 to 12,000 vehicles. He said that number will rise by 55 percent to 17,000 by 2040.
“Traffic is driven by development,” said Brenneman.
King said west Groveport Road is important to the city of Groveport’s future commercial development and its traffic flow.
“The study is based on the identification of properties that are still potential commercial development opportunities,” said King. “In order to accommodate future commercial development, it is important for us to understand what roadway system improvements will be needed for the additional traffic created by development. Roadway system improvements go hand-in-hand with development. Also, the identified improvements will be helpful in identifying what improvements would be the responsibility of future developers at the time a property is developed. It is always best to be proactive with identifying future infrastructure needs.”
Eight roads intersect with west Groveport Road in the study area: Bixby Road, Knight Street, Gobel Drive, and Prater/Edinburgh Drive in Obetz; Swisher Road in Franklin County; and Saltzgaber Road, Greenpointe Drive, and State Route 317 in Groveport.
Currently there are plans to do the following improvements along this corridor:
•The village of Obetz is improving the intersection of Groveport and Bixby roads to include left turn lanes west and east bound on Groveport Road, signal modifications, and improving the current condition of Bixby Road south of the intersection to the village corporation line. The estimated cost for these intersection improvements is approximately $1.6 million and the project will be funded by the village of Obetz and partially funded by nearby development. The project is scheduled for 2021 with completion expected by late 2021 or early 2022.
•An 165-unit apartment complex will be built on 22.6 acres located in Obetz on the northeast corner of Bixby and Groveport roads, according to village of Obetz officials. The developer for the project is Redwood and this land is in the Groveport Madison school district.
•Later in 2021 the following is expected to be built at Saltzgaber and Groveport roads: westbound and eastbound left turn lanes on Groveport Road, eastbound right turn lane on Groveport Road, and northbound left turn lane on Saltzgaber Road.
•For potential construction in 2023 at State Route 317 and Groveport Road are: zero offset left turn lanes on both State Route 317 approaches; a westbound right turn lane on Groveport Road; a second eastbound through lane from west of State Route 317 past the Kroger traffic signal to the Kroger right turn only entrance; and signal retiming.
Brenneman said that by 2030 it is recommended Groveport Road become three lanes with a center turn lane on the eastern portion of the road. He said by 2040 Groveport Road is recommended to become five lanes with a center turn lane on its western portion. He said traffic signals and improvements at various intersections can be looked at as needed in the future.
He said roundabouts were considered for some intersections, but that idea was rejected because such roundabouts would require too much space and too much right of way in this area.
The proposed various future improvements to Groveport Road could potentially cost the village of Obetz an estimated $8.6 million, the city of Groveport an estimated $2.7 million, and Franklin County an estimated $3.1 million. Some costs could be shared by developers.