Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Lebanon, ODOT agree on rebuilding part of Main

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City and state officials reached tentative agreement Monday on the best approach for rebuilding about two miles of this historic community's Main Street.

        That doesn't mean the $12 million project will definitely go forward. After an outcry from the community, a majority of City Council — four members — said last week they would not support any of the options presented by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

        Residents didn't like Option Four, which would keep one lane open throughout the project, because it would take nearly two years and require temporary pavement to be laid in some front yards.

        Business owners didn't like Option One, a 13-month plan that would close whole sections of road at a time, making it difficult for customers to reach them.

        And nobody liked the idea of detouring local traffic onto Silver and Mulberry streets, as all the plans would do.

        But City Manager James Patrick and Councilman Mark Flick on Monday suggested at a meeting with ODOT that Option Four could be workable if traffic was detoured instead onto South Street from Sycamore to Cherry.

        “Council I'm sure will support that,” Mr. Flick said, adding after the meeting that he remains opposed to ODOT's overall plan to remove on-street parking and add a turn lane.

        ODOT, too, agreed Option Four appeared to be the most palatable.

        “Every resident and every business owner will have access to their property at all times,” emphasized Keith Smith, an environmental engineer with ODOT.

        ODOT also said the South Street detour could be done, although South would need some work to handle the traffic.

        Mr. Flick said the city is willing to back out if it doesn't like the plan, but he was told that Mayor James Mills' plan of shutting down and rebuilding one block at a time is unworkable because sanitary pipes and other utilities can't be laid that way.

        Craig Knox, owner of Bertoni's Pizza, who opposes ODOT's plans, said residents and shopkeepers were led to believe the ODOT project was as good as dead.

        But, Mr. Knox said, “if they were going to do one of the options, (Option) Four would be the lesser of the evils.”

        The project is supposed to begin in the spring.


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