Monday, October 15, 2001

Butler Co. seeks funds for Ohio 63

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SHARONVILLE — Armed with charts, numbers and diagrams, Butler County officials made their pitch for $63.1 million in state funding to extend Ohio 63.

        “This is the No. 1 project in Butler County,” County Commissioner Chuck Furmon told the Ohio Department of Transportation's project review board.

        This project, which calls for extension of Ohio 63 from near Salzman Road in Monroe to U.S. 127, north of Seven Mile, will be competing for funding with 54 other projects throughout the state.

        The review board — called the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) — will decide in December which projects will be funded in 2006. The list of funded projects won't become official until spring.

        Gordon Proctor, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, said there are no funding guarantees because money hasn't been allocated yet for 2006.

        But TRAC ordinarily has a pot of about $300 million, said Michael Cull, TRAC spokesman.

        TRAC held a public hearing Friday at the Sharonville Radisson to listen to presentations of projects in southwestern Ohio.

        Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said the Ohio 63 project would relieve traffic congestion in the growing Monroe-Trenton area, stim ulate economic development and serve the Miller Brewing Co.'s facility and other industries in the area.

        Butler wants to build the 10-mile Ohio 63 extension in two phases.

        The western section, from Wayne-Madison Road to Ohio 127, would be built first, and the eastern section, from Wayne-Madison to existing Ohio 63, would be constructed next.

        The county plans to contribute $26.7 million to the project.

        Two other projects from the Tristate were presented to TRAC Friday:

        • The widening of a one-mile stretch of Ohio 22 at Interstate 275 for $9.1 million. Warren and Hamilton counties submitted this project. It's part of a larger project to widen a 5-mile section of Ohio 22 in Hamilton and Warren counties.

        • The widening of the New Haven Road bridge over I-74 in Harrison for $4.9 million.

        The proposed new I-75 in terchange at Greentree Road in Warren County had been submitted to TRAC by the county and Middletown. Middletown Regional Hospital plans to move to Greentree Road.

        But no one presented that plan at Friday's hearing because the project is not ready for funding, said County Engineer Neil Tunison.

        The project must clear zoning and annexation hurdles before preliminary work can begin, he said.


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