West side business under siege by crashing semi trucks

In recent months, several semi trucks have crashed off I-270 on the west side in the construction zone, coming close to a nearby business (Courtesy: Lyon Video)

After an out of control tractor-trailer blazed an off-road trail through the backyard of Lyon Video on Friday morning, owner and founder Bob Lyon had finally seen enough. He called 6 On Your Side to find out what those in power were going to do about this crash, and the ones before it.

"You'd think after the first one, somebody would take notice," Lyon said. "The second time, two people should be concerned.

Instead, it's happened six times in the past four months — a half-dozen terrifying tractor-trailer crashes at the back of Lyon's property, all caught on surveillance video from the company's building.

Lyon's business backs up to I-270 northbound on the west side of Columbus. The highway has been under construction for more than a year as part of a freeway widening project, to add lanes northbound and southbound. The Friday morning crash tore out some hedgerow close to the road, but previous crashes have brought semi-trucks bounding onto Lyon's property, knocking down landscaped trees and coming within a few dozen feet of expensive production trucks.

"When they come off the freeway, they're going 60 or 65 miles an hour," Lyon said. "That's a lot of potential damage to some of the equipment in the trucks."

Lyon Video employees drove the section of I-270 next to the company, and discovered a metal guardrail next to a creek that quickly juts out, almost into the traffic lane. The widening project has temporarily narrowed the right lane near the guardrail, and eliminated any shoulder on the edge of the road. Tire tracks show that trucks strike the guardrail, and are knocked off the shoulder into Lyon's backyard.

An Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson said Friday that the guardrail is meant to keep vehicles from crashing into the creek, and it will not be removed or altered. The spokesperson said that drivers should be aware of the reduced speed limit — 50 to 55 miles per hour in that area — and the posted "advisory speed" of 45 miles per hour, which might give truck drivers more time to maneuver around the guardrail as they encounter it.

A lane shift planned for September will eventually move vehicles away from the guardrail on a permanent basis. A pavement project completed on Friday also repaired a damaged section of roadway just before the guardrail.

Columbus Police said on Friday that an upcoming "resurfacing" is also expected to reduce the number of crashes in that area of I-270.

Waiting on the scheduled improvements, Lyon Video employees have no choice now but to remain gravely concerned over the crashes.

"We're even skeptical of standing out there, or working out in the (rear) area, because you just never know," Bob Lyon said.

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