Vandalia seeks to combat commercial truck traffic concerns

Vandalia city officials are working on solutions to control the amount of commercial truck traffic driving down National Road through the heart of the city. STAFF PHOTO

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Vandalia city officials are working on solutions to control the amount of commercial truck traffic driving down National Road through the heart of the city. STAFF PHOTO

Vandalia city officials are working on solutions to control the amount of commercial truck traffic driving down National Road through the heart of the city.

A large number of logistic warehouses have been built near the Dayton International Airport in the past decade that has led to the huge increase of truck traffic in and around Vandalia. Most of the truck traffic is directed on routes directly to Interstate 75 or Interstate 70, but Vandalia’s main roadway still sees a lot of heavy vehicles.

The city is working with the police division as well as the Ohio Department of Transportation to develop plans to keep truck traffic low to decrease complaints and safety hazards on the road.

Residents have submitted complaints about traffic congestion, but the majority of complaints are about the wide turns on narrow intersections in the city that could result in a crash.

“The city began to receive an uptick in complaints regarding commercial truck traffic through town with the sprouting of warehousing and logistics developments to the west of the airport outside of town,” said city manager Dan Wendt.

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Seven more commercial developments are expected to come online in the next year. “Without proactive intervention, our residents will likely experience an increase in collisions with semi-trucks, increased congestion and noise, and costly degradation to roadways that will have to be shouldered locally,” Wendt said.

Wendt said the city fully supports the work of the truck drivers, but the safety of residents is also important.

In a traffic study conducted in partnership with the city, ODOT, and a traffic engineering firm it was revealed that about 643 semi-trucks pass through town each day on National Road.

To combat the issue, the city is looking to develop alternative routes to keep the larger trucks off the main roads. Wendt said the county transportation district applied for funding from the ODOT Transportation Review Advisory Council to design improvements to the roadways along the northern side of the airport so that semi-trucks can quickly get to I-75 by way of Northwoods Boulevard without driving through town.

“Many drivers who are not from the area are using the City of Vandalia as a cut through instead of using a more sensible route to I-75 around the northside of the airport or to I-70 via the Airport Access Road,” Wendt said.

Police Chief Kurt Althouse said they are not telling trucks they can’t travel through town but if there is an alternate route, drivers are encouraged to use it.

The police department had also placed prohibited turn signs on National and Dixie Road throughout high traffic areas.

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“The reason the prohibited turns are there is because it’s such a tight intersection. When trucks go to make turns, they have to swing into the opposing lane of traffic or they have to pull out and cars have to back up which really creates a lot traffic hazards and congestion,” said Althouse.

Since 2019, Vandalia police increased traffic enforcement hours to catch violators and give warnings or citations. Over the last two weeks, the police have made 30 stops – 28 written warnings, 1 verbal warning and 1 traffic citation.

“Instead of writing every ticket, our police officers work to educate drivers and many commercial vehicle traffic stops result in warnings,” Wendt said.

Officers are also participating in training with the Ohio State Patrol to learn effective ways to help reduce the traffic and laws specific to truck drivers to better enforce them, Althouse said.

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