Union Centre traffic to get help from new Ohio interchange design

Relief from bottleneck traffic is on the way for one of Butler County’s busiest interchanges.

The Interstate 75/Union Centre Boulevard interchange is in line to be restructured with a diverging diamond interchange, or DDI, that will create a “free flowing” pattern with fewer left turns and traffic signals, according to officials.

The project, a $13 million tax increment financing job, is expected to be built in 2019.

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The Union Centre Boulevard interchange is one I-75’s busiest in the Cincinnati area, serving as a gateway to a business, entertainment and shopping corridor that is a regional draw due to attractions like IKEA and TopGolf and major employers like GE Aviation.

The first DDI in Ohio was built at I-270 and Roberts Road outside of Columbus, Stanley said. Another has been installed at I-475 and Ohio 25 in Perrysburg near Toledo, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s website.

The DDI design allows “free flowing turns when entering and exiting an interstate,” according a transportation video.

Separated by concrete barriers, “both sides drive on the opposite side of the road before crossing back and resuming their original pattern,” the video states.

“It looks confusing maybe on the surface, but when you are in it, you just go with the flow and you won’t even recognize what’s really taking place,” Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens previously told the Journal-News.

He described the DDI design as one that eliminates left-hand turns. Drivers wanting to get on the interstate no longer have to wait for a left-turn signal: They simply veer off to the left as they cross the bridge and head down the ramp.

Construction is slated to begin in early spring, with the goal of having only a three-day closure while work is done on the bridge deck, according to Butler County Chief Deputy Engineer Dale Schwieterman.

Drivers will still be able get on and off I-75 during the closure, they just won’t be able to cross over the interstate via the bridge, he said.

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“Right now we’re looking at can we close it on a Thursday after rush hour and open it up Monday morning, Sunday night before rush hour,” Schwieterman said.

Also planned are cosmetic changes designed to “make a statement” at the interchange that serves as the southern doorstep of the township, said Tim Franck, director of community services for West Chester.

The vandal fencing will be removed, and new lighting, “hard-scaping” — decorative fencing, sculptures — and stamped concrete will be installed, he said.

This article contains additional reporting by staff writer Nick Blizzard.

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