“In order to qualify for either state or federal funding at a later date, we have to closely follow ODOT’s process,” Engle said. “That’s why we’re going through it.”
He and other city officials have said no route for the proposed North Hamilton Crossing has been determined.
Traffic along the east-west corridor of High Street and Main Street through the city has become increasingly crowded in recent years, particularly at rush hour. Many residents have expressed concern that when the proposed gigantic indoor sports complex and convention center called Spooky Nook at Champion Mill opens in mid-2021 along North B Street, traffic will worsen.
City Manager Joshua Smith has said that, for the most part, traffic carrying athletes and their families to Spooky Nook for weekend tournaments will arrive and depart at different times from when the High-Main corridor is crowded now.
The Spooky Nook visitors will mainly arrive after 6 p.m. on Fridays, and leave by Sunday evenings, he has said.
Still, city officials say they want to expedite the North Hamilton Crossing, which must span the Great Miami River and nearby railroad tracks north of the Spooky Nook site, at the former Champion Paper mill.
The Purpose and Needs study will determine “various routes” that can be used for the proposed roadway, Engle said.
Hamilton’s $32 million South Hamilton Crossing opened in December, allowing traffic to use Grand Boulevard to get from Ohio 4 to Miami University’s Hamilton campus and the city’s West Side.
The environmental study also will be pretty complex for North Hamilton Crossing, Engle said.
North Hamilton Crossing “is going to be a rather expensive project, and it’s obviously going to take a lot of effort on our staff, to make sure that progresses,” he said.
Because the city’s work with the Butler County Transportation Improvement District was so successful in accomplishing South Hamilton Crossing, the city and TID likely will work together again on the northern route, he added.
North Hamilton Crossing already is on the transportation plan through the year 2040 that’s kept by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Engle said.
“We put a bridge project on there just as a placeholder,” he said.