Major construction projects could be headed for I-75/ I-71

About half of the $3 billion in the plan, announced by Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Monday, come from borrowing money against future increases on tolls paid by drivers on the Ohio Turnpike. Under the state law that approved the turnpike borrowing, 90 percent of the borrowed money must be spent on road projects within 75 miles of the turnpike corridor in northern Ohio.

But the turnpike money will free up money to help pay for projects in southwest Ohio that otherwise would have been delayed for years. They include:

  • The construction of a $107.7 million interchange along I-71 at MLK Boulevard in Cincinnati. Construction is expected to begin in 2014. Without the turnpike money, construction wouldn’t have started until after 2027.
  • Two phases of the I-75 Mill Creek Expressway project. One phase costs $205.2 million and would reconstruct and widen I-75 from Hopple Street to Mitchell Avenue; construction begins in 2017. Without the turnpike money, construction on this phase wouldn’t have started until 2021.
  • The second phase of the Mill Creek Expressway project would add a fourth lane to Mitchell Avenue both northbound and southbound at a cost of $41.1 million; construction begins in 2018. Without the turnpike money, construction wouldn’t have started until 2021.
  • Adding an additional thru lane on I-75 at Glendale-Milford & Shepherd Lane at a cost of $117 million. The new funding keeps the project on schedule; construction begins in 2016.

The turnpike money also moves up a widening of about four miles of Interstate 70 between Enon and Ohio 72, in Clark County near Springfield. That $19.1 million project is slated to begin next year; without the turnpike money, it would have been delayed until 2027, ODOT officials said.

ODOT’s Transportation Review Advisory Council will meet Thursday to finalize the statewide road project list.

“By thinking outside the box we’re attacking Ohio’s highway budget deficit without a tax increase and keeping Ohio’s highways in top condition,” Kasich, a Republican, said in a written statement. “Our agriculture, manufacturing and logistics industries, as well as so many others, depend on our world class highway system for their success and the $3 billion in new funds made possible from our plan keeps them moving so Ohio’s economic recovery can keep moving.”

“Ohio’s economy relies heavily on the dependability of our roadways and the efficiency of supply chains spanning from Ohio to the rest of the world,” said Mark Policinski, executive director of the Ohio-Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, the region’s transportation planning agency. “Fortunately, Governor Kasich’s leadership has been creative and successful in ensuring that Ohio has the transportation network to meet its economic challenges.”

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