LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE - Sunday, March 2, 2003

Main Street of the Tristate:
overloaded, outmoded, unsafe


As a critical artery clogs, driver's pressure rises

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer
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Narrow emergency lanes, limited visibility, too-short ramps - and traffic that far exceeds capacity - are just some of the problems confronting engineers studying improvements to Interstate 75 in southwest Ohio. Here are major trouble spots along the 29 miles of I-75 between the Ohio River and northern Butler County line: (See a route map)

The Brent Spence Bridge: The bridge was built for 80,000 vehicles a day - but is used by 140,000. Southbound traffic must first squeeze from four lanes into two, creating the worst permanent chokepoint in the Tristate.

Hopple Street interchange: Does not meet current design standards. Northbound traffic exits on the left, causing weaving and delays. Loop ramps are too small. Hopple becomes congested, backing traffic up on the interstate.

The I-74/75 merge: Does not meet current urban standards. A loop exit should have at least a 300-foot turning radius; exits here are much tighter. Slow traffic and truck tipovers are common.

Mitchell Avenue interchange: Drivers tend to slow down in both directions because of a curve that limits visibility.

Norwood Lateral/Towne Avenue/Paddock Road area: Exits are too close together, slowing traffic and causing weaving. Current design standards say exits should be at least a mile apart; these three are within 1.75 miles. of each other. Ramps are shorter than the 500-foot standard.

Ronald Reagan/Cross County Highway interchange: Ramps can't handle rush-hour demand; traffic can back up. Northbound I-75 ramp to Ronald Reagan West is too tight by current standards.though recently built-when?phil

Lockland area: Southbound, there are no shoulders and very small breakdown lanes. Concrete walls surround drivers, having the psychological effect of slowing traffic and deterring lane changes. Northbound, road narrows. A hill and curve limit visibility.

Evendale/Sharonville area: Southbound, a hill and curve approaching the GE Aircraft Engines plant limit visibility and slow traffic. On each side, Neumann Way exit reconnects with the interstate, but not before pulling traffic from several local streets. The result is a dangerous mix of high- and low-speed traffic.

I-275/Sharon Road area: Sharon Road exit is too close to the I-275 merge. Huge volume of traffic creates many merging and weaving problems.

Tylersville Road: Too many vehicles and too little concrete characterize I-75 from I-275 to the outskirts of Dayton. Graphics artist: Butler County traffic count chartlet here? Pilcher sent it over earlier Sources: Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments; ARTIMIS; Parsons Brinckerhoff Ohio; Enquirer research by James Pilcher




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