Plans are in the works to widen a section of Ohio 63 starting next year, between Ohio 741 and Union Road near Miami Valley Gaming.
Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison said the county was notified in September that it would receive $7 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation. Tunison said the funding would cover a portion of the $12 million project, with the county covering the remainder.
Tunison said the project includes widening Ohio 63 from two lanes to four lanes with left and right turn lanes at designated places. He said the funds would be used for right of way and project development expenses.
While there has been much discussion about Ohio 63 traffic further east, near the newly approved Parkside housing project, this road widening would be west of Ohio 741.
“About 22,000 cars use that road daily,” Tunison said. “That’s a lot more traffic than what two lanes can handle. We’re very fortunate to get funding for this project.”
In addition, there will be improvements to the intersection of Ohio 63 and Ohio 741, as well as combining the entrances to the Lebanon and Warren correctional institutions into one central entrance that will have a traffic signal, he said.
“It’s going to look a lot different with a signalized intersection,” Tunison said.
There will also be improved access to the CORE 5 distribution center development near the Miami Valley Gaming racino.
Before the road work can start, Duke Energy will have to relocate power poles along the state route. Tunison said the Ohio Power Siting Board has to approve the utility relocation project and that it would take the better part of a year to complete that part of the project.
Tunison said he expects construction on the project will begin in the summer of 2023 and be completed in 2025.
“We have a lot of work to do to prepare and get plans ready,” he said.
No funding has been awarded for the section of Ohio 63 between Ohio 741 and Lebanon, Tunison said.
Lebanon City Council has approved the Parkside at Lebanon project, a 277-acre mixed-use housing development, that will include a 60-acre public park and more than 1,200 dwelling units.
City Manager Scott Brunka said the cost to widen Ohio 63 to three lanes from Ohio 741 to Neil Armstrong Way has been estimated at $20 million to $25 million. However, he and Tunison both said there is no funding for that section of the highway at this time.
At a recent work session, Brunka said his goal will be to widen this portion of Ohio 63 within the next five years.
The expansion has raised a number of concerns about increased traffic between Ohio 741 and Lebanon as the road links Interstate 75 to Interstate 71. Residents were also concerned with the increased traffic coming east into Lebanon with the development of the Union Village project, where more than 4,500 homes are planned over the next 40 years.
The first phase of the $1.5 billion project is under construction and was the site of the 2021 Dayton Homearama.
As part of the Parkside project approval, developers Justin Doyle and Neil Hughes have been working with the city and ODOT to make necessary improvements to Ohio 63 to improve existing safety and traffic concerns, and have revised the plan more than a dozen times to fit the needs and concerns of neighbors and city staff, which includes adding a center-turn lane in front of the property.
Hughes had previously told council the project includes $6 million for improvements to Ohio 63, including widening the road to three lanes with three-fourths of a mile of center turn lanes and two traffic lights. He said ODOT has indicated they will support lowering the speed limit by 10 mph.
The Parkside development has the support of the city and local business community. More than a dozen business property owners voiced their support for the project at Tuesday’s council meeting. The project will offer a variety of housing options for first-time buyers, custom home buyers and seniors wanting to downsize. The developer said home prices will range from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
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