Tuesday, June 12, 2001

I-75 study could stop road work

Commissioners criticize decision

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A regional transportation study of the Interstate 75 corridor could delay three major road projects in Butler and Warren counties by almost two years.

        Butler County officials were upset Monday when a project manager for the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) told them the state will withhold approval on all road projects that would increase traffic on I-75 until the study is completed.

        That could mean delays for Butler County's proposed Ohio 63 extension, the proposed I-75 interchange at the extended Cox Road, and the proposed I-75 interchange near Greentree Road in Warren County, where Middletown Regional Hospital plans to move.

        The study, being conducted by OKI and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, will suggest improvements for the I-75 corridor from Piqua, Ohio, to Kenton County in Northern Kentucky.

        The study will take about 1 1/2 years to complete, Judi Craig, OKI project manager, told the commissioners.

        She said the Ohio Department of Transportation will approve no new I-75 interchanges while this study is going on.

        That drew an angry reaction from Commissioner Mike Fox.

        “I don't know how you can put the fastest-growing area in the state on hold,” Mr. Fox said. “I'm in favor of the study and planning, but I don't want Butler County's future put on hold while that's being done.”

        The commissioners plan to express their concerns to state officials and to the regional committee studying access to Butler and Warren counties.

        “We'll get some answers,” Commissioner Courtney Combs said.

        The Ohio 63 extension would be connected to the proposed I-75 interchange near Greentree Road.

        The county needs to start acquiring property for the Ohio 63 extension soon, Mr. Fox said. But a delay in constructing the interchange near Greentree could delay that process.


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