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- Butler County plans $24M in road and bridge projects.Butler County plans $24M in road and bridge projects.
A major revamp of Ohio 747, two new bridges and more than 70 miles of road resurfacing are some of the biggest projects the Butler County Engineer’s Office will undertake this year, but the Union Centre Boulevard interchange did not make the list.
West Chester Twp. officials had the interchange on their priority list for this year, but Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said the project will likely be delayed until 2019.
“We’d like to start it in (2019) and that’s pushing pretty hard,” Wilkens said.
There are two design proposals for the interchange that sees about 50,000 vehicles daily, and working through the options has slowed things down some, Wilkens said.
Township officials said it is important to get the estimated $12 million project right.
“West Chester accounted for the expense in the 2017 operational budget with the understanding that significant study would be required to ensure the most efficient and effective design,” township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said. “West Chester will continue to work with the BCEO to determine the best design for the future of the interchange.”
The engineer has outlined $24 million in road and bridge projects that will be funded with a combination of local, state and federal funds.
The two biggest projects are in Liberty Twp.
One — a $7.7 million project — will widen Ohio 747 to five full lanes from Princeton to Millikin Road. Federal funds are covering $6.2 million of the project, and Liberty Twp. will pay for the rest.
The other — an almost $5 million project — will install a roundabout at Yankee and Princeton roads, widen the roads to three lanes and make other improvements. The engineer’s office share will pay $82,537 for the project, with federal and state monies covering the rest.
Both projects will likely take about two years for completion.
The engineer’s office will also be resurfacing and fixing 72.5 miles of roads, to the tune of $6.5 million. That is a joint program between the county and townships.
“We have raised what we want to do in reference to resurfacing, we are trying to lower our life cycle length. When I took office we were sitting at like 32 years was the point before we could get back to resurfacing,” he said. “With the additional money we are trying to put into resurfacing now, we’re sitting at 24 (years) and we hope to get down to about 17. The sad part about resurfacing is there are no grants available.”
The engineer’s office received $13.3 million in grant funding for its 2017 projects. The county, townships and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money will pay for about $10.7 million.
The county general fund and property taxes are not used to pay for the engineer’s projects, they are funded with gasoline taxes, vehicle registration fees and state and federal grants.
Commissioner Cindy Carpenter commended Wilkens for spreading the projects out all across the county.
“I think you’ve done an excellent job of addressing our countywide needs,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize how diverse we are with regard to our populated areas. You mentioned College Corner, you mentioned West Chester. They couldn’t be more different … I was impressed by the fact you went countywide and you are addressing the needs of our smaller communities and our larger communities.”