Northwood wants the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) to review future plans to improve the Wales Road/I-75 interchange.
Administrator Bob Anderson said he foresees commercial expansion and increased traffic along the Wales Road corridor.
“You got to get those improvements in the pipeline 10 to 15 years before construction, if it ever happens,” he said.
“The western part of Northwood is where all our industrial and commercial is and will be. Wales Road and I-75 is our big interchange. We have commercial and industrial businesses on both sides.”
The expansion of FedEx Freight on Arbor Drive, near Wales, is also expected to increase traffic he added.
“There are projections that the road can handle the FedEx traffic. I have a hard time believing that we’re not going to have some traffic congestion up there,” said Anderson.
The area is a prime location for increased commercial development, he added.
“It’s close to Toledo, right off I-75. I’m hoping for future expansion in that area, and that means more traffic. Owens Community College is right down Oregon Road, even though it’s not in Northwood. It’s right off of that interchange, and there’s a lot of vehicular traffic there. I can see more commercial, like restaurants, going in down the road, because of Owens. But we need to start looking at that right now.”
He is also interested in a possible realignment of Wales Road, where it heads east, past Tracy Road, and dips south before it connects to East Broadway.
“I’d like to see if we can do anything to straighten that out, because if we do, it’s going to open up that whole midsection of the town,” said Anderson.
Traffic is also expected to increase once the Wonder Hostess Bakery on Wales starts up again, he said.
“We’re going to have more trucks going in and out of there. It seems to be able to handle the traffic right now. So I’m looking at the entire Wales Road corridor. Some day, there’s going to be way too much traffic back in there, and we’re going to have to do something about it. So we might as well start doing something about it right now,” said Anderson.
Councilman Dave Gallaher, chairman of the city’s economic development committee, agrees with Anderson’s projections.
“I have to give credit to our administrator,” said Gallaher. “He’s doing exactly what an administrator should be doing, and that’s looking to the future. He came to the Economic Development Committee and shared his concerns. The casino in Toledo created some changes to the intersection – the entrances and exits to I-75. There is the concern that in the years coming, we may need to address our entrances and exits on Wales Road. There are also some signage issues, which are being mandated by the state. That is something we have to be prepared for. So there are a lot of things that have to be done.”
Just getting plans before TMACOG’s transportation committee is enough for now.
“That’s the group we want to sell our ideas to,” said Gallaher. “This is not on the radar anywhere. There’s nobody at TMACOG discussing this. TMACOG will become a partner if the project has merit. They will help us secure funds from the Ohio Department of Transportation or any other state and federal agency.”
Seeking funds and planning for construction is “a very, very long process,” he added.
“It’s nothing that can be done overnight. We have to get future needs on TMACOG’s agenda to get it reviewed. We can’t wait until 2025 to tell someone we need help. We need to get on the agenda now and potentially earmark some grant money or highway funds, whatever is available for that project,” said Gallaher.