By Jeremy W. Steele
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Businesses pained by construction on Interstate 75 are about to get another pinch.
The $31 million project to widen 8 miles of I-75 is about to close a third highway overpass in West Chester. Today, crews will close the Crescentville Road overpass to rebuild it, pushing more traffic onto an already congested Union Centre Boulevard.
The Crescentville bridge was originally scheduled to close after work was complete on the Allen Road and West Chester Road bridges. Those overpasses were closed this spring as part of the project to widen I-75 from Sharon Road in northern Hamilton County to Tylersville Road in southern Butler County.
But rainy weather has delayed construction, said Dick Dole, I-75 project manager.
"The public will have three to four weeks with all three closed," Dole said. "Hopefully, this will get us back on track."
Today's overpass closure will leave three bridges linking West Chester Township: Tylersville Road, Cincinnati-Dayton Road and Union Centre Boulevard.
But those three bridges don't help businesses such as Cornerstone Cafe on West Chester Road. Restaurant manager Joe Routson said business has slowed by about 20 percent.
"We still get a pretty steady lunch crowd because of all the businesses that are close, but we don't get as much night traffic," he said.
"It's been a concern of ours from the beginning," said Kerry Murray, spokesman for the Southeastern Butler County Chamber of Commerce.
Traffic changes are putting a strain on Sharonville as well. Princeton City School District redrew bus routes to maneuver through detours, and the city canceled its yearly End of the Sun Run, which uses the Crescentville overpass.
The Allen Road overpass is scheduled to open by Sept. 1, Dole said. All three are expected to be open by year's end. Construction on I-75 continues through summer 2005.
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