Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Highway project on track for '06

Drivers await rail underpass

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SPRINGDALE - On Linda Skelton's daily drives up and down heavily traveled Princeton-Glendale Road, she all too often winds up sitting in a traffic backup at the railroad tracks between East Kemper and Crescentville roads.

"I'm forever getting stopped by the trains," said Skelton, of Wyoming, who manages a Gold Star Chili restaurant on Princeton-Glendale. "Sometimes I sit for 15 to 20 minutes."

But relief is on the way for her and the thousands of other motorists who drive over the CSX railroad crossing north of Tri-County Mall.

The long-awaited railroad underpass project designed to eliminate the lengthy traffic tie-ups on Princeton-Glendale (Ohio 747) is ready to move full-speed ahead.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will advertise for bids on the $8.9 million project in November. If the contract is signed in December, construction would begin soon after Jan. 1.

The railroad tracks will be raised slightly and Princeton-Glendale will be rebuilt to run under the tracks. The project will be completed by June 2006.

Construction was supposed to start early this year. But the project was delayed for a year when CSX decided it wanted to undertake some of the work that an independent contractor had been hired to do.

"I would love it if I could drive straight through and not have to wait on a train," Skelton said.

But convenience isn't the only reason for the underpass project. It also will create a safer situation for motorists. It not only will eliminate the chance of train-car accidents there, but also reduce the danger of cars being hit from the rear by other cars in that stretch of the road.

The trains sometimes cause traffic to back up on Interstate 275's north Ohio 747 exit ramp, Springdale City Manager Cecil Osborn said.


E-mail skemme@enquirer.com

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