Workers feverishly correcting Butler County roundabout project before school begins

Crews had to basically rip out a portion of the new roundabout at LeSourdsville Wester Chester and Millikin roads to fix an issue with the elevations.
Caption
Crews had to basically rip out a portion of the new roundabout at LeSourdsville Wester Chester and Millikin roads to fix an issue with the elevations.

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The new roundabout at LeSourdsville West Chester and Millikin roads in Liberty Twp. was supposed to be school bus-ready by the opening of school next week, but the route may be detoured.

Neighbors have been wondering why the new traffic circle appeared to be almost complete before crews began ripping it out. Butler County Chief Deputy Engineer Dale Schwieterman told the Journal-News the contractor has “owned” the grading error and is feverishly working to correct it before the Lakota Schools open next week.

“They were originally scheduled to open at the end of this week if not sooner, so right now they have a plan laid out that would allow them to get it completed by next Tuesday still, which would put us ahead of Lakota’s opening day, which was our goal all along,” Schwieterman said. “It’s tight but they’re pushing as hard as they can, they know how important it is to get it done.”

Schwieterman said the contractor wasn’t trying to cut corners, their “modeling” was off and once pavement was laid “it was apparent that something was messed up” because parts of the roundabout were higher than the others, which could cause future problems.

County Engineer Greg Wilkens has said there has been an 11% traffic increase on LeSourdsville West Chester Road — the annual norm is 3%.

Another new roundabout affecting Lakota families in West Chester Twp. also has been delayed. Schwieterman said they were hoping Butler Warren Road and Barret/Western Row roads roundabout would be open for the start of school but now they are shooting for Labor Day.

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Mason City Manager Eric Hansen said they also were hoping to open it this week before school buses begin rolling Monday. Some issues, including supply problems that have cropped up worldwide due to the pandemic, played a role in the delay.

“There were some weather delays coupled with supply chain type issues, they kind of lost a critical week and pushed it back to Labor Day,” Hansen said. “We hoping to get it done for the school buses sake before that.”

Lakota Schools spokeswoman Betsy Fuller said the potential Millikin delay impacts only about 10 buses out 203 and the Butler Warren and Barret roads route have even fewer.

“We are aware of it and will reroute the buses just as we would with any other traffic disturbance,” Fuller said.

The other new West Chester Twp. roundabout at the Butler Warren and West Chester roads was finished last week.

There are a couple other road projects to watch out for, but they won’t change things for the schools. The Scott Road bridge replacement in Milford Twp. is still closed and will be until October. Trenton Road is closing Aug. 23 for the new roundabout on the outskirts of the city of Trenton at Wayne Madison Road.

“Trenton Road is scheduled to be closed on both side of Wayne Madison throughout that project until the fall of this year,” Schwieterman said. “Wayne Madison will remain open the whole time. There will be some impacts to the Edgewood Schools with their bus routes, but they’ve known about that project for quite some time.”

So far all of the various projects are on budget. Wilkens had a $43 million capital projects list this year and the new roundabouts were estimated at $6.5 million. The largest project by far is the $24.5 million project to fix the often-tricky Interstate 75 interchange at Liberty Way and Ohio 129.

Schwieterman said they are working “days and nights” on the interchange project and soon the “bridge work will become more apparent” as they work across the ramps. The project will go into next year.

When it is all complete Wilkens said drivers will have a much easier time navigating the area.

“Drivers who are headed eastbound towards Mason will come off the end at Cox and make a right to up to Liberty Way,” Wilkens said. “That way they won’t be subject to the weave that Liberty Way at I-75 southbound and (Ohio) 129 is today. That ramp from 129 to Liberty Way will be removed at the end of this project.”