Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Reagan Highway work on last lap

Final layer of asphalt going down

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The final phase of the two-year headache that is the Ronald Reagan Highway reconstruction begins this week.

        Crews on Monday prepared to lay down a new top layer of asphalt.

        Work will be done at night, with no interruptions to rush-hour traffic.

        Though daytime lane closings ended last fall, the $17.6 million widening and bridge reinforcement project is scheduled for completion June 30.

        Traffic at night will be reduced to one lane in each direction, though not at the same time, said Kim Patton, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 8 office in Lebanon. It was not determined yet which day this week the closings will begin.

        New signs were installed in recent weeks, leaving only the final paving to be done.

        The 3.7-mile stretch under construction runs through Amberley Village, Reading, Blue Ash and Sycamore Township.

  In other Tristate work zones, northbound traffic on Interstate 75 in Northern Kentucky — from 12th Street in Covington to the Brent Spence Bridge — will be restricted to three lanes overnight for the next two weeks. Workers will be installing signs.
  Restrictions began at 10 p.m. Monday, and will continue Monday through Friday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
        Last year, bridge work over Kenwood Road in Blue Ash hampered some businesses as customers struggled to find alternate routes.

        Rob Hall, owner of the LaRosa's restaurant on Cooper Road near Kenwood Road, said Monday that business there didn't suffer from the congestion, though it did slow delivery workers.

        Mr. Hall's work commute, however, was affected. He lives in Miami Heights on the west side, a 30-minute drive that during peak construction typically took about 45 minutes.

        “When that was down to one lane, that was a real hassle,” he said of the Ronald Reagan construction. “I either had to leave early or stay late and work, leave at 6.”

        Construction included widening shoulders and entrance and exit ramps, a new concrete barrier wall, and new lighting, signs and guard rails.

        That stretch of Reagan, between interstates 71 and 75, became increasingly overburdened by traffic, and hadn't had a major reconstruction in years.

        The stretch between Galbraith and Ridge roads was built in 1958. The highway between Ridge and Kenwood roads opened in 1965, and three years later, it opened between Kenwood and Montgomery roads.


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