By Rick Palsgrove & Linda Dillman
Southeast Editor & Staff Writer
Madison Township residents living on Toy Road, Saltzgaber Road, and Swisher Road remain frustrated by the heavy traffic from nearby commercial warehouses that uses these narrow, formerly rural roads.
Several residents from this area appeared at the December Groveport City Council meeting seeking relief from the vehicle and semi-truck traffic that they say damages the roads, tears up yards, knocks over mailboxes, causes noise, generates trash, and creates congestion.
“We’re nine years into this nightmare,” said Madison Township resident Laurie Lyles. “It’s excessive. These roads weren’t built for this out of control traffic.”
The residents said they would like to see Toy Road closed to thru traffic.
Additionally township resident Kristen Woodward believes the signage in the area stating “No Trucks” is ineffective because the signs are too small, unlit, and positioned where truckers see them too late.
The residents also fear that any potential development of the acreage at the southeast corner of Saltzgaber Road and Groveport Road will further increase traffic problems in the area. If this land is developed, they’d like to see the access to it be from Groveport Road and not Saltzgaber Road.
Groveport City Council President Ed Dildine told the residents there is only one warehouse in that area that is in the city of Groveport and which accesses Toy Road. The rest of the warehouses there are in the village of Obetz, according to Dildine.
“You should go talk to Obetz,” Dildine advised the residents.
Woodward said the residents plan on approaching Madison Township and Obetz officials about the problems.
Groveport city officials also noted the one warehouse in Groveport in that area has “left turn only” access to Toy Road which funnels traffic to Alum Creek Drive.
Dildine said Toy, Swisher, and Saltzgaber roads are not in the city limits of Groveport.
“We have no control of township or county roads,” said Dildine. “We can’t tell you or the township or Obetz what they can or can’t do. We have no control of the speed limits. We have no say in closing Toy Road. We can only control what is in Groveport.”
Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp sympathized with the township residents.
“If I could close Toy Road I would, but we can’t,” said Westcamp, noting it’s not in the city’s jurisdiction.
Westcamp said Groveport and Madison Township could work together to try to find ways to ease the situation, but added, “I can’t guarantee anything on Obetz.”
Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson attended the December Madison Township trustee meeting and discussed the traffic issues on Toy, Swisher, and Saltzgaber roads.
Robertson said his department is taking an open-minded approach to the situation by considering multiple ideas and discussing them with various agencies.
Woodward told Robertson that Swisher Road is a little two-lane with no center lines, no berm lines and that its 45 mph speed limit there is too high.
“Speeding is an issue,” said Woodward. “Many of us have had narrow escapes with trucks and getting hit by warehouse workers. Trash is dumped in yards daily. There is a massive life-altering increase in traffic that the warehouses have caused us.”
“Rest assured, we are working diligently on it,” said Robertson. “Obviously, very heavy traffic is going through there with semis. Personally, I think something needs to be done. We’ll drill down into Toy Road (surface) and see what the composition is. We’re targeting February.”
Robertson said the county is open to suggestions, including a public meeting. He also said widening the road is an option they will take into consideration.
“We’ve been to countless meetings, written countless letters and waited on study after study,” said Lyles. “Toy Road was built as a farm to market road without a base. We want to revise the idea of closing Toy Road. Saltzgaber was closed, so we know it can be done. We know Madison Township is on a limited budget and they do the best they can to maintain the roads. Think of how easy it would be if it (Toy) were closed.”
Madison Township trustee Ed Dildine, Sr., told residents the township has little control over the situation and little money to work on the roads, other than maintenance.