Grant to untangle Hamilton Main Street intersections

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Main/Cereal area to receive work in 2020

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The city has been awarded a state transportation grant that should untangle traffic in the complicated collection of streets near Main Street and Cereal Avenue.

The work, scheduled for 2020, won a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation that pays local governments 90 percent of the funds needed for construction of traffic improvements.

Public Works Director Rich Engle said the approximately $2.5 million project will simplify traffic patterns in the area where Cereal, Haldimand, McKinley and Western avenues meet Main Street. In the area, there are two traffic signals close together and tangle of streets causes traffic congestion and crashes, according to the city and ODOT.

The reworking of the streets will improve traffic flow on Main, Engle said.

“With two traffic signals and multiple intersections all at the same location, that creates its own little congestion problem,” he said.

“Right now, Cereal and Haldimand are split into two different intersections on Main Street,” Engle said. “They’re going to be together, coming into Main Street, and it’ll be directly across from Western — kind of like what we’re doing with Millville and Eaton (avenues) on Main Street. They’ll be aligned directly across from each other, so we’ll have just one intersection, not multiple.”

The plans are so preliminary, officials don’t know exactly what alignment the streets will take.

“We haven’t started design yet. We haven’t even selected a firm to proceed yet,” Engle said. “With this one, we’re going to investigate some other options there.”

Engle said the number of crashes “wasn’t significant,” but was enough to qualify for the safety funding.

ODOT District 8 spokesman Brian Cunningham said over a recent three-year period there were 56 crashes, one of them fatal.

The fact 17 of those wrecks were rear-end crashes indicates a congested area, Cunningham said. The state over about the past 10 years has been focusing on helping local governments with such projects.

A traffic survey found 21,000 vehicles drive along Main Street east of the intersection on a weekday, with 20,00o driving west of the intersection, Cunningham said.

Cunningham said if the project goes over the $2.5 million projection, the city will have to pay the amount over that. Hamilton also must finance the design costs.

“The goal of the safety program is to help local communities improve areas that are either highly congested or have a high crash rate, that may not have the funds necessary to make those improvements,” Cunningham said. “The state’s trying to help local entities improve traffic flow and safety levels.”

There are many more transportation projects than the state can fund, and “local entities are in the same boat,” he said. “If we can help push money into local communities where we can improve traffic efficiency and safety levels, then we do that.”

Statewide, ODOT receives requests to fund 60-70 projects in a year, with $90 million to $100 million available for projects.

Typically in a year, “30-40 receive some type of funding — some of them, it may be partial funding; some of them, it may be the total,” he said. “It can vary from year to year.”

The project also should make for a better crossing for both pedestrians and the nearby bike trail, Engle said.

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