A week into the 35-day closure of Rt. 58 and Wellington police chief Tim Barfield has already switched up his plan to regulate traffic on the village’s side streets.
The original plan was to have a greater police presence on Barker, Union, and Jones streets to deter speeders and prevent semi truck drivers from using residential roads as a detour.
Barfield said that wasn’t enough and has now called on the Ohio State Highway Patrol for some assistance.
A new sign will be going up at the intersection of routes 301 and 18 to warn drivers coming into the village from the east. The OSHP’s truck enforcement unit will also patrol the area to deter semis just passing through.
The chief said he can understand and tolerate trucks that make local deliveries using the side streets if absolutely necessary, but he has a hard time finding sympathy for the drivers who simply ignore the signs.
The village posted an additional sign at the Maple and Main streets intersection to prevent the huge trucks from using Union Street.
“They have no reason to go past Maple,” Barfield said.
At a village council meeting Monday night, councilwoman Sandy Denes brought up the idea of banning parking on Barker and Union streets to make it easier for traffic to get though. It was agreed that having cars on the sides of the street would force drivers to pass through more slowly and with a greater degree of caution.
Wellington police officers have also stepped up ticketing of semi truck drivers and speeders. Barfield even added an additional officer to the schedule to monitor traffic Monday through Friday.
“It is all about safety,” he said, adding that he isn’t fond of having to issue so many tickets.
But the message is getting across.
Barfield said the number of complaints to police has also increased over the last few days on Facebook, by phone, and even through text messaging. He believes progress has been made in some of the most affected spots.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever get to great but it is getting better,” he said.
He encourages drivers to be patient and factor in additional drive-time to avoid speeding.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.