Some major Butler County road projects nearing completion: Where traffic will improve

Construction continues at the interchange of Union Centre Boulevard and I-75 Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in West Chester Township. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Construction continues at the interchange of Union Centre Boulevard and I-75 Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in West Chester Township. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Several major projects that have been underway in Butler County are very near completion, including the $20 million Union Centre Boulevard diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 75.

For the next two nights the on and off ramps at UCB will be restricted with lane closures on the northbound I-75 side from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to paving work, which signals the end of the project is near.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens had hoped with lighter traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic the project might wrap up by July 4 but now it is looking like it will be open in early August as was originally forecast.

“They’ve lost some ground on that and it looks like it’s going to be on track to be finished when they said.” Wilkens said. “For some reason, I don’t if they didn’t put people on it or what but they ran into some minor issues, but nothing that’s not on track.”

The plan is to close the bridge for four or five days — drivers can still exit and enter the interchange they just won’t be able to cross bridge — and that will likely occur the week after the Fourth from Wednesday to Monday.

Likewise work on phase two of the $3 million Tylersville Road widening that switched briefly from a night-only project — due to the estimated 50,000 cars that pass through daily — to night and day construction, is back to work only at night according to Wilkens. It will be finished in early July.

RELATED: Big Butler County road projects ahead of schedule as roads clear for coronavirus shutdown

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.

Several other detour causing projects are are either complete or nearing completion. The commissioners approved a $5.5 million contract for the Liberty Fairfield Road widening project last year. The project included 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 crews finished working on the Fairfield Twp. side of the road last week.

The drainage project on Beckett Road in West Chester is supposed to be finished by July 4 and the roundabout at LeSourdesville West Chester and Beckett Ridge is on track for an early August opening.

Several projects are upcoming, including widening Gilmore Road at the Ohio 129 overpass in Fairfield Twp., the Butler Warren Road and Liberty Way intersection improvement and a bridge replacement on Hamilton Mason Road in Liberty Twp. The commissioners recently approved a $1.7 million contract for the the bridge project that will begin July 6, which was around $600,000 below the estimate.

Wilkens is anticipating an approximate 35 percent drop in gas tax revenues due to the stay-at-home orders. He said it will not have a huge impact on this year’s budget but the reduction could hurt next year.

“We had a little bit of carryover so we could budget our way through that, but as we move into the following year we’re going to be a little more cautious of it and see where it goes” Wilkens said. “We’re not living on razor’s edge right now, but we’re getting closer because we had three major drop in projects.”

Wilkens had about $1 million in unexpected projects crop up this year. A hole opened up on Cincinnati Dayton at the border of Liberty and West Chester townships; a bridge went out on Elk Creek Road at Ohio 122 west of Middletown and a landslide also occurred on that road south of Ohio 122.

Almost $7.2 million worth of resurfacing work is also underway, it is largely fueled by the gas taxes in most communities. Last year the legislature authorized a gas tax hike and also allowed communities to impose an additional $5 vehicle registration fee. Hamilton was the first jurisdiction to impose the added fee and Ross Twp. trustees recently followed suit. Liberty Twp. trustees have tabled that idea for now, public hearings would have been required.

“Bottom line is we did put it on hold,” Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell said. “I think the consensus was to move forward and then we had the corona hit and the comment was made ‘do we really want to go to open meetings during this pandemic and ask for more money’ and that’s when we put it on hold.”

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