Hamilton buys 5 properties to re-align major intersection

The city of Hamilton is purchasing five properties for a combined $469,369.13 to make way for the already-under-construction intersection of Main Street with Eaton and Millville avenues.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will reimburse Hamilton for 90 percent of that amount for the project that is intended to make the intersection safer and improve traffic flow. The intersection work is expected to cost between $3 million and $3.2 million.

The great majority of the $469,000 will go for two properties: $219,000 for the former Greg Wolpert Nationwide Insurance agency building at 603 Main St.; and $225,000 to Worley Real Estate LLC for 602 Main St.

When his former insurance building was torn down in July, Wolpert told the Journal-News: “I’m going to miss that place. Oh, my gosh, yes.”

Wolpert retired Dec. 31 at age 65.

The “Main/Millville/Eaton Intersection is scheduled to be completed by August 2019, according to contract,” city Engineer Rich Engle recently said. It will speed the flow of vehicles through the intersection that, like much of the east-west corridor of High and Main streets, is crowded during rush hours.

When the intersection is finished, the roadways will meet at 90-degree angles, a significant change from the sharp angles they meet at now. That will make the intersection easier for drivers to steer through and also will make it less confusing.

When officials conducted a safety evaluation of the intersection for 2008-2010, they found 50 wrecks happened during that period. Of those crashes, 10 involved vehicles that wee turning left. Another 27 were caused by vehicles hitting others from behind. And within a 0.3-mile distance of the intersection, there were 80 wrecks.

The intersection’s safety improvements are why the Ohio Department of Transportation is paying 90 percent of the project’s costs, according to Brian Cunningham, a spokesman for the department.

The other parcels involved are small pieces of property: $11,938 to Telhio Credit Union, formerly known as Chaco Credit Union, for 0.0025 acres of 601 Park Ave.; $10,616 to Todd J. Prewitt for o.0239 acres at 51 Eaton Ave.; and $2,815 to Carlson and Sharon Freitas for 0.0025 acres at 606 Main St.

Hamilton City Council approved the purchases earlier this month.

In an effort to keep on schedule with the ODOT project, Hamilton had begun the eminent-domain process with the owners.

“However, since the filing of these procedures the city and the property owners have agreed upon purchase prices for the needed areas of property,” city Clerk Nick Garuckas wrote in a report on the matter to the council.

The city recently improved flow along the High/Main corridor when it upgraded the intersection of High Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

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