Friday, January 11, 2002

Eggleston Ave. exit off I-471 to be closed

Ramp not up to federal code

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The city of Cincinnati will permanently close the temporary Eggleston Avenue ramp off Interstate 471 near downtown on Jan. 26, city officials said.

        But it's not because they want to.

        The ramp was originally a temporary detour during the Fort Washington Way construction, but the city had hoped to keep the ramp as a permanent means of exiting to the east side of downtown.

        John F. Deatrick, the city's transportation director, said state and federal officials are pressuring the city to close the ramp because it doesn't meet federal specifications.

        If the city won't close the ramp, the state could refuse to take over the maintenance of Fort Washington Way.

        The problem: I-471 doesn't allow enough distance between the Liberty Street on-ramp and the Eggleston Avenue off-ramp. Mr. Deatrick said the city has never had a problem with the cross traffic, because motorists are entering and exiting at different times of day.

        The exit will be barricaded the morning of Saturday, Jan. 26, and crews will later demolish it.

        But even as it's being torn down, Mr. Deatrick said he will ask the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments to study traffic patterns in an attempt to convince state and federal officials to rebuild it.

        “I would like to do an incremental upgrade of it, but they don't see it like that,” he said.

        “They knew from the beginning that the ramp was supposed to be for temporary purposes,” said Kim Patton, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation. “This is not a battle between the city and the state.”


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