City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to delay a study that would be the first step in creating the proposed North Hamilton Crossing bypass highway for up to a year, while promising the study will happen.
The delay will happen so the city can spend money on more immediate needs, including some street paving and replacement of an ambulance.
Rather than Hamilton spending $750,000 in 2020 on the study, an amount that would be combined with $250,000 for the estimated $1 million study that would propose routes for roadways and bridges that would be needed to span the Great Miami River and railroad tracks.
The North Hamilton Crossing project is a concept of a roadway north of the city’s downtown that would alleviate traffic on the main business corridor of High and Main streets. Many residents have expressed hope such a highway would alleviate heavy rush-hour traffic, particularly after the gigantic Spooky Nook Sports indoor sports facility and convention center opens in 2021. That project is expected to attract 10,000 or more athletes and their families to the city on some weekends.
Under a plan proposed by City Manager Joshua Smith and unanimously approved by the council, city government will put half of its $750,000 share for the study into its 2019 budget and spend the remaining half ($375,000) toward other projects.
Those projects would include $175,000 to replace a medic unit, $110,000 to replace a sidewalk on New London Road in front of Potter’s Golf Course, $90,000 for a crosswalk that will better connect residents of the Third + Dayton project (in the former Ohio Casualty complex) to nearby parking and $50,000 to pave an alley on South 2nd Street, next to where the 80 Acres indoor agricultural company has occupied a building.
Although Hamilton would only put half the $750,000 toward the study in the 2020 budget, it would do so with the promise of seeking funds from the state and federal governments to finance the remaining half. If that half could not be located, the city would be committed to placing the other half in its 2o21 budget, Smith said.
Meanwhile, $1.3 million remains from the South Hamilton Crossing project that created a Grand Boulevard overpass above the CSX railroad tracks so east-west vehicle traffic no longer has to stop for trains in that area. The $1.3 million is the amount Hamilton expects to receive because the project was under budget, and it will help finance several projects:
- Sanders Drive will be repaved between Eaton Avenue and Hermay Drive, at a cost of $215,000.
- Eaton Avenue will be repaved from the area of Flub’s to Northwest Washington Boulevard, costing $165,000.
- Grand Boulevard will be repaved from Ohio 4 to the railroad tracks, for $127,000.
If the city does not win the $375,000, “we will guarantee the remaining $375,000 … will be funded in our 2021 budget, with payment (to the Butler County Transportation Improvement District) in January 2021,” Smith wrote to council.
In addition to that repaving, Smith noted that city Engineering Director Rich Engle recommended that with funds the city will receive from the state gasoline tax, the city would do two other repaving projects:
- Grand Boulevard from the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks to the Five-Points intersection, costing $441,000; and
- Tylersville Road, for which the city gets many pothole complaints, from the Ohio 4 Bypass to the entrance of Hamilton Enterprise Park, costing $1 million.
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