The Ohio Department of Transportation closed the section of roadway June 12 as it continued a slope-stabilization project that began in January. Work is expected to be completed this fall.
Trustees approved an expenditure not to exceed $4,000 to hire off-duty law enforcement officers to direct traffic at the intersection of Jewett Road and Liberty Street just south of Powell.
The sheriff’s office will coordinate traffic control with Powell police to limit backup and help increase traffic safety from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
Township officials have been receiving complaints from residents living near the intersection.
“The big issue is the semi trucks,” said Trustee Shyra Eichhorn. “Four trucks have gotten stuck there in the last week, bringing traffic to a stand still.”
Eichhorn said some truck drivers apparently fail to see the detour signs posted by ODOT and then try to take Jewett Road to turn right onto Liberty Street. She said when the trucks try to make the turn, they get stuck in the intersection.
ODOT District 6 spokesperson Nancy Burton said Liberty Township requested more than a half dozen additional road signs last week.
“We are looking into cost and how quickly we can turn that order around,” Burton said. “We’re also looking into more signage in addition to what we already have out there.”
Downtown Powell has become a popular alternate route for motorists during the closure. In an effort to curtail the traffic, Powell’s city council approved a temporary measure June 20 prohibiting left turns from Liberty Street onto Powell Road during the hours of 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The city’s police department has been directing traffic during those peak hours, working to smooth the flow and reduce the delay times.
Kari Friedauer, whose neighborhood is just off of State Route 315 and Jewett Road, said the increased traffic has created issues for motorists in her neighborhood.
“It makes it hard to get to Powell proper to support the businesses,” she said. “You have a lot more traffic going down the roads.”
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation website, 17,860 vehicles normally travel the short stretch of road on State Route 315 that is now closed in both directions.
Friedauer said motorists are using her neighborhood as an alternate route around the traffic.
“Cars cutting through the neighborhood with the kids out is kind of scary,” she said. “The other night I came home and there was a tractor trailer in my neighborhood trying to back out.”
Tracy Whited, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, said no traffic accidents have been reported at the intersection since June 1.
“We’re happy to help move traffic along as smoothly as possible at this busy intersection,” Whited said. “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, motorists need to exercise patience and caution while we all work through these inevitable growing pains. And by utilizing special-duty deputies, law enforcement service to the remainder of the county will not be interrupted.”
Follow ODOT’s webpage at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/d06/Pages/Home.aspx for road closures and traffic changes.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.