Sunday, November 12, 2000

Ronald Reagan Highway: Relief is on the way

Four lanes should be open mid-December

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Motorists traveling along the eastern stretch of Ronald Reagan Highway should see all four lanes opened by mid-December, finally relieving the traffic congestion that's been the highway's bane since spring.

        Traffic had been reduced to one lane in each direction of the east-west highway along a 3.7-mile stretch between Galbraith Road and I-71 as major reconstruction of the highway progressed.

[photo] Workers strip and smooth the center lane areas on the Ronald Reagan Highway near Ridge Road.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        Motorists such as Harold Rice, who lives in Sycamore Township and drives the highway about twice a week, welcome the news.

        “I'm waiting anxiously for it to reopen,” said Mr. Rice. “The way it is with one lane on each side it's rather hectic to drive, especially at night when it's raining. Going west in the evening it gets rather tied up. I wish they would've reopened it sooner.”

        Kim Patton, a spokes woman for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 8 office in Lebanon, said the entire reconstruction project is expected to be complete by June 2001, with work resuming next spring.

        The work on the $17.6 million project has involved new pavement, wider road shoulders and entrance and exit ramps, a new concrete barrier wall and new lighting, signs and guardrail.

        “This stretch of the highway is pretty old,” said Mrs. Patton. “It's the first major reconstruction on that section.”

        The stretch between Galbraith and Ridge Road was finished in 1958. The highway between Ridge and Kenwood Road opened in 1965, and the leg between Kenwood and Montgomery Road opened in 1968.

        The project runs through Reading, Amberley Village, Blue Ash and Sycamore Township.

        Bruce Henry, safety director for the city of Blue Ash, said the reopening of all four lanes will be welcomed.

        “It'll have a tremendous impact on us, because the backups that's created has just dramatically impacted our traffic patterns,” said Mr. Henry. “So we'll be most pleased to get any portion of that up and running.”

        The work is too extensive, and too involved, to confine it to the evening hours, said Mrs. Patton, although work has been done in the evenings.

        “We have the pavement torn up and ripped out, and bridges that were being widened and worked on,” said Mrs. Patton. “It's not like a night resurfacing project where you work at night, put down some asphalt and open a lane back up in the morning. This is just too extensive to do that.”

        The remaining work next spring involves the final surface of asphalt. That work will be done at night.


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