$3.2M Butler County road project to start in spring

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The $3.2 million Salzman Road extension project is moving along and should be ready to go to bid in January, according to the Butler County Transportation Improvement District.

The extension will align with Yankee Road and will provide a straight route for truck and commercial traffic to and from Middletown between Todhunter Road and Ohio 63 for easier access to Ohio 4 and Interstate 75. The extension will enable semi-trucks to avoid a railroad crossing as well as the area around Monroe High School and Junior High school.

Currently, traffic follows Yankee Road, which doglegs to and from Todhunter Road.

“Final plans and specifications were sent to ODOT (the Ohio Department of Transportation) last month, and we’re waiting for final approval,” said David Spinney, BCTID executive director.

Spinney said the BCTID is managing the project while the cities of Monroe and Middletown have agreed to pay for any overage costs for the design work after the district was awarded a $237,000 grant to do the design work and received a federal grant for $2.4 million to construct the road extension. He said the work will be “weather dependent,” the projected start could be as early as March and should take the entire 2017 construction season.

One aspect of the project is raising high tension electric transmission lines that cross the property for traffic to safely pass under. He said the electric utility can only de-energize those lines twice a year during low-demand times. Spinney said the de-energizing of the lines was supposed to be completed this month, but a revised schedule has not been sent from Duke Energy. He said there is an alternate plan to continue with the project if the power lines were not raised.

“They’ll have to raise them eventually,” Spinney said.

Dan Arthur, Monroe’s public works director, said Duke Energy will add cover to raise the elevation of the road over an underground BP pipeline that goes through the property where the road will be built. In addition, he said Duke Energy has indicated that two power poles will have to be raised so that they meet minimum clearances.

“I’m very excited about this project,” Arthur said. “I think it’s going to be a nice project for the city and also for Middletown.”