New Liberty Twp. I-75 interchange could mirror West Chester Twp.’s connector

Area and state transportation officials have announced the proposed Interstate 75 and Millikin Road interchange design will be the same as the "diamond" designed interchange opened in 2020 farther south on I-75 in West Chester Twp. The $36 million proposed highway connector at Millikin Road in Liberty Twp. (current overpass pictured) is a key transportation project for both the township and Butler County. (PHOTO BY NICK GRAHAM\Journal-News)

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Area and state transportation officials have announced the proposed Interstate 75 and Millikin Road interchange design will be the same as the "diamond" designed interchange opened in 2020 farther south on I-75 in West Chester Twp. The $36 million proposed highway connector at Millikin Road in Liberty Twp. (current overpass pictured) is a key transportation project for both the township and Butler County. (PHOTO BY NICK GRAHAM\Journal-News)

After research, discussions and public input, area and state transportation officials have decided on the type of interchange planned for the proposed $36 million Interstate 75 and Millikin Road connector.

Liberty Twp. leaders — in conjunction with the Butler County Transportation Improvement District and the Ohio Department of Transportation — said the county’s next highway interchange will be a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).

That another DDI opened two years ago a few miles south on I-75 — at the Union Centre Boulevard interchange — and has largely proven popular with the driving public, helped in the decision, said Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell.

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“When we get on these big decisions, we like (public) input,” said Farrell, who described the current DDI in West Chester Twp. as “new, interesting and it’s working.”

“Anybody that uses a Diverging Diamond (Interchange) on a regular basis loves it.”

According to a statement recently released by Liberty Twp. “the interchange type decision follows a significant public outreach effort, including a virtual public open house, digital survey, and an open comment period, wherein a majority of respondents favored the DDI.”

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“Several options for improving travel along the I-75 corridor at Millikin Road and the supporting roadway network were considered as part of the interchange study,” said township officials.

“Diverging Diamond Interchanges — like the one recently-built at I-75 and Union Centre Boulevard — are proven to dramatically improve safety because they eliminate numerous traffic conflict points. Also, because speeds are reduced within the DDI, if crashes do happen, they are often less severe,” they said.

Traffic through the interchange follows clearly-defined curbs, signs, pavement markings, and state-of-the-art signals to move briefly over to the left side of the road. This eliminates the need for drivers to identify when to safely make a left turn in oncoming traffic at ramp intersections. Drivers who continue through the interchange then cross back over to the right side of the road, leading to the “diverging diamond” name.

“In addition, because of the smaller footprint needed to construct the traffic pattern, they are often quicker and less expensive to build than many other interchange alternatives,” said officials.

Dan Corey, Director of the Butler County TID, which managed the study on behalf of the township, said new interchange projects must go through a planning and evaluation process that includes defining a Purpose and Need Statement.

“The Purpose and Need Statement for the interchange at I-75 and Millikin Road reflects the need to make sure that our existing roads meet our travel needs today – and in the future,” said Corey.

Several significant steps are expected to be completed this year as the project team moves closer to a funding plan for construction.

“An Interchange Justification Study (IJS) will be completed in early 2022,” Corey said. “The IJS will provide additional traffic analysis and will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for approval. Their approval of that analysis is the next milestone that is needed within ODOT’s Project Development Process and will kick-off the design phase of the project.”

Public feedback will continue to be solicited and reviewed throughout the course of the project and is an integral component of the Project Development Process.

Farrell said “we hope the public will continue to be engaged as this important project moves forward.”

Project-related comments can be shared with Dan Corey at danc@bctid.org.

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