Hamilton applying for state grant for North Hamilton Crossing

Hamilton’s Black Street bridge, built in the 1920s, may only have 20 years of life left, and one possible replacement is the proposed North Hamilton Crossing, which itself could take 20 or more years to build. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

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Hamilton’s Black Street bridge, built in the 1920s, may only have 20 years of life left, and one possible replacement is the proposed North Hamilton Crossing, which itself could take 20 or more years to build. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

In an effort to alleviate heavy cross-town traffic that will accompany the late-2021 opening of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, Hamilton is applying for $2.8 million in state funds for preliminary site design and engineering studies.

Hamilton will seek the money from $15 million the Ohio Department of Transportation has set aside as part of its 2020 BUILD grant program (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development).

The grant will not finance any of the project’s construction.

Explore OUR 2019 ARTICLE: North Hamilton Crossing could take decades, cost $150-$200M

Here is what the studies will do, according to City Clerk Nick Garuckas:

  • Determine the feasibility, probable costs, and best location for the proposed North Hamilton Crossing project, which will link NW Washington Boulevard on the West Side with Ohio 129 on the East Side
  • Study the purpose and need for such a connection
  • Perform a feasibility study for new bridges that connect North B Street, where the sports complex is being built, to Ohio 4, which will require a new bridge across the Great Miami River to replace the aging Black Street Bridge, and also an overpass above CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in the area
  • Create advanced construction drawings for the Great Miami River bridge

City officials in September decided to postpone those studies for a year while they sought funding assistance for those studies. Hamilton City Council at its Wednesday meeting voted to seek state funding to help finance preliminary site design and engineering

Officials last year estimated the highway project could take 20 years or longer to complete, and could cost in the range of $150 million to $200 million.

Hamilton officials believe the studies will cost about $3.8 million, of which $1 million will have to come from local sources, including money the Butler County Transportation Improvement District has left over from the South Hamilton Crossing project, which created an overpass along Grand Boulevard, linking Ohio 4 and Miami University’s Hamilton campus.

The city plans to make improvements along the B Street Corridor between Main Street and the area of the sports complex, which is to be accompanied by a 220,000-square-foot events and convention center and two hotels.

According to the report to city council on the issue, although the B Street Corridor will be improved, “the city understands that with this massive new facility an influx of out of town visitors will be swarming the city on a fairly regular basis.”

Hamilton’s residents “will also need to be able to move from the east and west sides of the city freely and efficiently,” the report states, noting that the new route would “better connect the east and west sides of the city.”

City residents have expressed wariness about the amount of traffic the facility will bring to the city, but City Manager Joshua Smith has said it shouldn’t be too difficult for local motorists because most of the traffic from the 10,000-plus out-of-town athletes and their families should arrive after rush hour on Fridays and depart on Sundays, before the Monday morning commute.

Officials in September postponed spending on the studies this year while they sought grants to help fund them, with plans to spend the money on studies during 2021.

Explore READ MORE: Hamilton may delay North Hamilton Crossing study up to a year

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