Fairfield Twp. roundabout will help with safety, economic development

A $1.7 million roundabout in Fairfield Twp. is the next piece of the Gilmore Road corridor development and it will make the area safer as Butler County’s latest move to install these growing traffic devices township trustees say.

The estimated 13-week roundabout project will “encourage business development in vacant township properties in the area,” said Trustee Joe McAbee.

Improved traffic for people trying to use Gilmore Road will improve safety for township residents and visitors, he said.

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With expected heavier traffic flow, the roundabout is designed to help improve safety in the area, which is home to the Butler County medical campus at Enterprise Park, the soon-to-open StoryPoint Senior Living and the newly opened Fairfield Twp. Fire Station 212.

The area will also grow as there are close to 180 undeveloped acres on either side of Gilmore Road, township officials said.

Roundabouts in Butler County are outperforming the national statistics in lowering accidents and injuries, data show. The engineer’s office has either constructed or had a hand in building 17 roundabouts on county or township roads. They have resulted in a 60 percent reduction in overall crashes, 80 percent fewer injury crashes, and a 100 percent reduction in serious and fatal crashes, according to the county engineer’s office.

“We’ve indeed found the modern roundabout to be a safer, more efficient alternative to traditional intersections at certain locations,” said Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens. “The number and severity of accidents have been substantially reduced where our roundabouts have been installed, so they are doing their job.”

Another seven roundabouts are set to be constructed in 2020 and 2021.

The roundabout work will be ahead of the estimated $1 million Gilmore Road widening, which will widen the road from the start of the roundabout approach to the Ohio 129 overpass. There’s not a time frame for that project as of yet, according to township officials.

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The roundabout is “the best option” for the township and improves traffic flow in the area, said Trustee Shannon Hartkemeyer.

Trustees hope the work opens the area up for business development on the undeveloped parcels, including just under 50 acres owned by Fairfield Twp. and more than 130 acres owned by Kettering Health Network under Butler Developments LLC.

“I just think that Gilmore Road corridor is just an ideal place for businesses to locate,” Hartkemeyer said. “We are in the (Joint Economic Development District) JEDD partnership with the city of Hamilton, so both communities have a vested interest in opening up that area for development.”

The JEDD, which is a special taxing district, helped Fairfield Twp. land Walmart and Home Depot, helps townships collect income taxes they otherwise wouldn’t realize. Townships in Ohio cannot levy an income tax without partnering with a city in forming a JEDD. Hamilton and Fairfield Twp. recently expanded on its existing JEDDs.

Fairfield Twp. Trustee Susan Berding said underground utilities had been laid, and the power grid to the area is in place. Once the roundabout and Gilmore widening projects are finished, Berding believes developments will be attracted to the area.

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