Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens hasn’t finalized his capital improvement plan for the year yet, but he estimated $17 to $18 million in construction projects.
Road work is on hiatus for the winter but once spring hits several major road projects will impact traffic and drivers’ patience.
Unique diverging diamond interchange at Union Centre in West Chester on course
Road crews are no longer lining the gateway to Butler County on Interstate 75 but will be back in a couple months to finish the new diverging diamond interchange improvement. The Butler County engineer’s office reports the work is about 60 percent complete.
Drivers have had full access to the interchange throughout construction but there is a brief closure scheduled for the end of the project this summer, when work on the bridge deck will be done. Drivers will still be able get on and off I-75 during the closure, they just won’t be able to cross over the interstate via the bridge.
“The closing will be four days and in those four days, construction will be going strong 24 hrs a day, so we’re hoping the weather and other factors are in our favor,” engineer’s office spokeswoman Betsy Horton said. “The closure will be over a weekend most likely in July, toward the end of the project.”
The Butler County commissioners awarded the $20 million contract to the John R. Jurgenson Company last spring for the project that is entirely funded with West Chester’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money.
The early estimate for the project was $14 million but County Engineer Greg Wilkens had to revise the projection a couple times due to the construction market last year. The township is paying $6 million in cash and sold $14 million in TIF-backed bonds.
Phase 2 of Tylersville Road widening won’t disrupt daytime traffic
The final phase of a project designed to make Tylersville Road at the Interstate 75 interchange in West Chester Twp. safer and less congested for the 50,000 drivers who travel it daily is back on track, and construction is slated to start in the spring.
Given all the drivers and businesses in the area, construction of the $3 million project will be done at night, likely from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and should be completed this summer.
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The project entails adding a westbound lane on the north side of the road from the interstate to Cox Road. To make that happen, access driveways to the rear of the eateries near Home Depot must be moved. There will now be two access roads to the rear service road, the current one at Dudley Drive and a new one that will run through the old Sunoco gas station site.
The project has been delayed twice, first because gathering right-of-way from businesses was challenging and last year because bids came in $1 million over estimates.
Liberty Fairfield Road work continuing
The commissioners approved a $5.5 million contract with John R. Jurgensen Company for Liberty Fairfield Road widening project last spring. The project includes adding a center turn lane, widening the shoulders, adding street lighting at intersections and adjusting the vertical profile between Princeton and Millikin roads.
The project started in Liberty Twp. last summer and will resume this construction season on the Fairfield Twp. side of the road, to correct safety issues. Horton said work is about 64 percent complete.
The federal government is paying the largest share at $3.6 million, the state paying $840,775 and Wilkens’ office is picking up $486,735 and the Water and Sewer Department $627,710 for water line work.
Beckett Road area will be a mess this summer
Drivers in West Chester Twp. will have road woes this summer as a major road project will shut down the intersection at LeSourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge Boulevard.
A new roundabout at the Lesourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge will be done in tandem with a drainage project on Beckett Road between Beckett Ridge and Union Centre boulevards. The project will be done this summer to lessen the impact on the schools in the area. The roundabout construction means the intersection will be shut down for the duration of the work.
“We’re driven to do them at the same time so we’re not doing them while school’s in,” Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said. “It would have a major impact in the school systems.”
MORE: Butler County’s newest roundabout coming to West Chester this summer
The work will begin the day after Memorial Day, May 26, and officials hope it will end before the start of school in August.
The $1.6 million roundabout is near Lakota Ridge Junior High School and down the road from Freedom Elementary School. The $1.8 million drainage project is in the vicinity of Lakota West High School.
Millikin Road interchange still a long haul
The $79 million Interstate 75 interchange at Millikin Road jumped a significant hurdle recently with the state transportation department approving the “purpose and need” application, which green-lights the next phase of work.
“You’ve got to put this in perspective, that’s the first step of many,” Wilkens said. “It was one that was having some difficulty getting through and just like most of those projects perseverance wins.”
The interchange itself will cost about $40 million but fixing the network of roads around it pads the price. The new interchange would open about 700 acres of land ripe for commercial development directly surrounding the exit and 1,200 total in the future Cox Road corridor from Liberty Way to Millikin Road.
Wilkens said funding will be the next major step.
“It’s going to be a combination of anyone you can get to the table,” Wilkens said. “That’s going to be a big dollar project. There’ll be a lot of funding sources I would imagine that come to play in that one.”
When Wilkens gives his annual capital improvement project to the commissioners later this spring paving projects will be a priority.
“I’ve said that all a long, there’s a lot of glory in all the new improvements and the new projects,” Wilkens said. “But the reality is as I widen these roads, and I build these new projects and roadways, somebody’s got to maintain them and that cost continues to go on. It’s got to be taken care of.”
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