By Rick Palsgrove
Busy roads just seem to get busier.
South Hamilton Road in Groveport (also known as State Route 317), from its Bixby Road intersection to the U.S. Route 33 interchange, is one such road.
That portion of South Hamilton Road includes five intersections with traffic signals and another intersection with Homer Ohio Lane/Venture Place without a signal. There are also three schools in addition to several businesses along this section of road.
According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the current average daily traffic volume on this stretch of South Hamilton Road is estimated to range between 30,000 to 38,000 trips per day.
It’s a busy place.
Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said a South Hamilton Road Corridor Timing Study is being conducted to evaluate the traffic flow. He said the study corridor includes South Hamilton Road (State Route 317) from the State Route 317/Bixby Road intersection (southern end) to the State Route 317/U.S. Route 33 westbound on/off ramp intersection (northern end).
“The expectation is that a final report will be provided for the city’s review by the end of the year (2019),” said Farst. “After Jan. 1, follow-up meetings will be held to discuss the outcome with affected stakeholders, including city of Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).”
“It’s overdue,” said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert of the study.
Farst said the consultant for the study is IBI Group.
“The project study budget is $22,760, which is being paid for by the city of Groveport,” said Farst.
Farst said Groveport has responsibility for the existing traffic signals at Bixby Road, Firehouse Lane, and Director’s Boulevard/Higgins Boulevard. The signal at Williams Road is the city of Columbus’ responsibility. He said the traffic signals at the U.S. 33 eastbound ramps and U.S. 33 westbound ramps are Columbus’ responsibility with some level of ODOT oversight that Columbus would need to confirm.
Farst said the study will involve data collection with regard to traffic volume and turning patterns, field observations as to vehicle queue lengths and drive times during certain peak hours, review of records (existing traffic signal timing plans and other relevant traffic studies), examination of equipment, computer modelling to determine existing corridor performance, and for signal timing optimization.
“The goal is for the study to offer recommendations to improve traffic flow and reduce travel time within the corridor, including methods to optimize traffic signal timings,” said Farst.
Farst said the study was undertaken to: take a global-level and local-level review of the corridor and the intersections, including those intersections in and outside Groveport city limits; and to identify solutions and potential improvements for all relevant agencies to consider that would, if implemented, reduce travel time along this road.
“Problems within the corridor include lengthy vehicle queues and traffic congestion,” said Farst.
Farst said the study could serve as a “spring board” for the city to lobby for improvements and to research potential funding programs.
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said State Representative Richard Brown has agreed to work with Groveport regarding the South Hamilton Road corridor traffic situation.