Hamilton traffic headache ends early after water main replacement

The historic Champion Paper administration building, located across North B Street from the Black Street Bridge, likely will become a boutique hotel as part of the gigantic Spooky Nook sports complex. In deciding how to transform the Hamilton office building into an appealing hotel, Sam Beiler, who created the original Spooky Nook facility in Manheim, Pa., said he took some pointers from President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel, located in a former Washington, D.C. post office. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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The historic Champion Paper administration building, located across North B Street from the Black Street Bridge, likely will become a boutique hotel as part of the gigantic Spooky Nook sports complex. In deciding how to transform the Hamilton office building into an appealing hotel, Sam Beiler, who created the original Spooky Nook facility in Manheim, Pa., said he took some pointers from President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel, located in a former Washington, D.C. post office. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A busy Hamilton bridge and part of a closed roadway reopened a week earlier than construction project was expected to last.

The Black Street Bridge and North B Street between Black Street and Rhea Avenue closed Dec. 16 to allow the city to replace a 50- to 60-year-old 16-inch cast-iron main with a 16-inch ductile iron main. The project was timed to be completed in 50 days before construction efforts ramp up in the immediate area on the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill complex.

The bridge and road re-opened to traffic on Tuesday instead of the original Feb. 4 completion date.

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“First of all, we had decent weather for the contractor to work in,” said City Engineer Rich Engle. “We did not have any severe cold weather or snowfall or rain that prevented them from working.”

It also helps that construction workers did not run into any difficulties in the course of installing the water main, Engle said.

“The cast-iron (main) was the old method that pipe manufactures used to create the water mains and ductile is a different form of iron pipe,” he said. “It’s got a little more flexibility and it’s not as brittle as the old cast-iron is, so it improves reliability for the water service in that area.

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Engle said the city wanted to get the water main replaced before the launch of utility improvements this spring, which will move overhead utilities underground around the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill complex, which is expected to open in late 2021.

In addition, water mains and sanitary sewers will be replaced, a new storm sewer will be constructed and a portion of B Street will be re-paved, Engle said.

Bids were accepted on Dec. 13, but have yet to be awarded, he said. That will take place “probably within the next 45 days” with construction likely to start in about 60 days, Engle said.

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The part of the Champion complex located east of B Street will be used as Greater Cincinnati’s second-largest convention center, with a hotel and restaurants and retail shops also located there.

With the Black Street Bridge no longer an option to cross the Great Miami River during the period, motorists had to use the High-Main Street Bridge.

“There’s a lot of traffic that comes from the northern part of the city and outside of the city that comes (via the Black Street Bridge), so they were forced to take different routes,” Engle said. “When you close one of only three bridges crossing the Great Miami (River), it tends to cause more congestion on the other two, obviously. We were happy to get the project as done as quickly as we did.”

Engle also said the timing of the water-main project helped because students were off for the holiday break, so buses were not as affected as they would have been had the project been conducted entirely during in-school.

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