Residents along Hilliard-Rome Road who want something done to ease the increasing amount of traffic took their complaints to the Westland Area Commission.
Ron Phillips and Terry Barry, who live near the Conrail railroad crossing, asked WAC at its Oct. 21 meeting what had become of the planned overpass at the end of Galloway Road several years ago.
The two residents said traffic had increased with the development in Hilliard to the north and the construction of the Glenchester community to the south.
“When there’s a train on the crossing, I can’t turn left out of my driveway,” Barry said about long lines of traffic.
He also expressed concern about emergency vehicles waiting for trains.
“What happens when the squad has someone in the back and they’re tied up at the crossing? How long is the fire department going to wait until they hand it off to someone on the other side?
“Is it on the drawing board?” he asked of plans to finish the project at the end of Galloway Road.
Phillips said residents had been told 13 years ago that there would be an overpass on Galloway Road in 15 years.
“It’s halfway finished,” both Phillips and Barry said, referring to a ramp on the south side of the crossing but nothing on the north side.
The city of Columbus has said there are no plans for an overpass because of a lack of funds. Prairie Township has said the project was dropped for lack of funding.
“Why did they start it if they didn’t have the money to finish it?” Phillips wanted to know.
WAC President Mike McKay said that the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission had been involved in the project years ago, but indicated the project today would have to be considered as part of the Westland Area Plan that is scheduled to be updated next year.
“We’re working on updating the Westland Area Plan,” McKay told the visitors. “The city told us the work would start in 2010. It’s mainly zoning and land use.”
But Patricia Brown, who chairs the Planning and Development Committee, will head WAC’s work when the updating process begins next year.
“Transportation is included in that plan and it’s something I want included,” Brown said.
During the updating process, residents will be asked for their opinions and planners will use those suggestions to incorporate into the plan of what the area should look like several years down the road.
“I will be happy to do some checking? Brown said about looking into the status of an overpass.
Both Phillips and Barry favored completing the work on Galloway Road since Hilliard-Rome Road is only two lanes, and creating such a structure would mean taking property from residents and commercial entities along that road.
“It would cut off the entrances and exits of Al-Ro Steel,” Barry said of any work on Hilliard-Rome Road.
Brown also agreed with a structure on another road.
“Why would you put an overpass on a two-lane road?” she asked.
Barry said something needs to be done, not only because the traffic stopped for trains makes it difficult for local traffic.
“Property values are down because of the traffic,” he said.
Barry also complained that motorists don’t pay attention to the speed limit, which is 35 miles per hour in the area.
“It’s like the Indy 500,” he said. “There have been several accidents in the area in the past few years.”
Jo Ellen Locke, WAC’s Recreation and Parks chair who has often spoken of a need for an overpass in the area, offered encouragement to area residents when she said “the more people who get involved, the more chances we have,” of getting the overpass.
The next meeting for WAC will be Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Doctors Hospital.