BUTLER TOWNSHIP — Truck traffic has been increasing in Vandalia and Butler Township, but hasn’t yet rebounded to levels seen before the Great Recession of 2007-08.
That’s the conclusion of a traffic count conducted by the IBI Group on behalf of the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District (TID). The counts were conducted in October 2015 and January 2016.
Steve Stanley, Executive Director of the TID, said the data shows a “success story in that the majority of the trucks are going on routes we want them to go. The size of the problem that everyone is sensitive to is a very manageable problem.”
Stanly was responding to complaints that truck traffic in Vandalia and Butler Township has risen since the opening of the P&G Distribution Center in Union.
The study was part of the process for improving U.S. 40 as part of a federally funded project. Parts of the study were funded by ODOT, the TID, the Cities of Union, Dayton, and Union. It included roadways in Vandalia, Butler Township, and Union including I-70, I-75, U.S. 40, Dixie Drive, Peters Pike, Dog Leg Road, Union Airpark Boulevard, Old Springfield Road, Lightner Road, and Frederick Pike, Northwoods Boulevard, and others. The study also compares current traffic counts to available historical date provided by the Ohio Department of Transporation.
The study found that nearly 65,000 vehicles per day travel on I-7o between I-75 and the Airport Access Road, but that is significanly lower than the 75,480 per day in 2006 – a decrease of 14 percent. Of that traffic, 27 percent is truck traffic – both Type B trucks like school buses, delivery trucks, etc., and Type C trucks, more commonly referred to semi-trucks.
I-75 sees 78,560 vehicles between I-70 and National Road, essentially the same as in 2006. However, only 16 percent of those vehicles are trucks, down from 24 percent in 2006.
By far the road that saw the largest truck count was Northwoods Blvd. in Vandalia between I-75 and the Pilot Travel Plaza. Over 2,800 trucks made the trip in a 24 hour period. Other roads that have heavy truck traffic were the Airport Access Road with 1,150, Union Airpark Blvd. with 840, and Peters Pike south of National Road with 710.
“I think it shows the truck counts have gone up but it also shows that truck traffic isn’t near what it was in the past,” said Trustee Nick Brusky. “I think the (I-70) construction has had a lot of effect on the traffic – when there’s an accident everyone is looking for a detour.”
Some concern has been expressed that drivers coming from the north to the P&G facility are being directed to rural roads by GPS – technology that may not know those roads aren’t suitable for large trucks. Specific concerns were raised about Jackson and Furnas Roads.
“I’m old-school, I don’t use GPS,” said Brusky. “A smart driver calls his dispatcher, gets the address, calls the shipper, and finds out directions on the phone. Unfortunately, shippers are cutting back more and more on their personnel so drivers get nothing but an answering machine so its almost forcing drivers to use GPS.”
Trustee Mike Lang said the study was no real surprise, but that he remains concerned about traffic on rural roads.
“This study confirmed what we already knew,” said Lang. “My concern is the trucks coming from the north that use rural routes which is what I don’t want to see. I hope that they will continue to aggressively deal with P&G to reroute those drivers.”