Seldon Brown had a front-row view of what he called “a major improvement” on the west side of Hamilton.
Brown, who owns The Little Woodshop on Main, watched intently for the last 18 months as the intersection of Main Street and Millville and Eaton avenues was reconfigured. Construction was completed last week, and those offering early reviews raved about the project.
MORE: Large metal sculpture will be installed at key Hamilton intersection in 2020
Rich Engle, Hamilton’s director of engineering, said he read several comments on Facebook and 98 percent were positive. The construction made the congested intersection safer and easier to navigate for those driving along Main Street, he said.
When officials conducted a safety evaluation of the intersection during a three-year span, they found 50 wrecks had happened. Of those, 10 involved vehicles that were turning left and 27 were rear-end accidents.
The construction is expected to cost about $3.7 million, and the Ohio Department of Transportation will reimburse the city 90 percent of that amount because the project is intended to make the intersection safer and improve traffic flow, Engle said.
He said the revamped intersection will speed the flow of vehicles through the area that — like much of the east-west corridor of High and Main streets — is crowded during rush hour.
The project also included new curbs and sidewalks, additional street parking and improved drainage system that will reduce flooding in the area, Brown said.
As Brown looked outside his business Tuesday as rush hour neared, he was amazed by the way traffic flowed. Before the construction, he said, two cars waiting at the light at Eaton Avenue could see the businesses along Main Street. That number has climbed to eight drivers being able to see the businesses, he said.
More visibility leads to more business, he said.
“I’m just elated,” Brown said. “It’s beautiful. I’m already seeing more customers.”
Last year, the city of Hamilton purchased five properties for $469,369 to make way for the intersection. The majority of the $469,000 went for two properties: $219,000 for the former Greg Wolpert Nationwide Insurance agency building at 603 Main St.; and $225,000 to Worley Real Estate LLC for 602 Main St.
In 2020, just in time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hamilton being named a City of Sculpture, a 25-foot-tall brushed stainless steel artwork will be installed near the intersection. The work, in which two spiraling forms wrap around each other, will be called “Embrace.”