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Millions approved for U.S. 35 work: What we know now

It appears that a new lane along U.S. 35 from Dayton to Interstate 675, as well as the building of a more easily flowing “super street” on 35 in Greene County, are on a fast track to development.

A key state committee yesterday approved state funding for the work in Montgomery County, adding a lane on 35 from Steve Whalen Boulevard to I-675.

The TRAC — the state Transportation Review Advisory Council — also re-confirmed an earlier vote approving a “super street” in Greene County, a project that will entail a new U.S. 35 interchange at North Valley and Trebein roads.

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Chris Kershner, executive vice president at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and one of nine TRAC members, said the work in both counties is “essential for the east-west movement of goods and commuting for our region.”

“These projects have been on our priority list for a long time,” Kershner said Thursday.

“It’s a very good thing that funding was approved for those,” said Steve Stanley, executive director for the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District.

The Eastern edges of the Dayton area have been growing for years, drawn by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — which remains Ohio’s largest single-site employer, with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian employees — and Wright State University, along with businesses that serve them both.

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The Valley-Trebein work is a separate allocation, a $2 million project. “That’s something that really needed to happen,” Kershner said.

Anyone who lives east of Beavercreek or travels through it is familiar with the traffic problems on 35, particularly between North Fairfield Road and the Xenia bypass.

“It’s become gridlock, and that continual gridlock will make us unattractive for economic growth,” Kershner said. “So yesterday’s TRAC vote will solve that problem.”

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“The (TRAC) vote happened, and we’re on there (on the list of approved projects),” said Brian Martin, director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. “I think it’s a big deal.”

Federal funds of $2.4 million will serve as the “local” match for the Montgomery County project, Martin said.

On a draft TRAC list, the “super street” in Greene County is listed for an allocation of $13 million total. 

Martin said that project will get a blend of local and federal funds — about $3 million in federal funds and $1.5 million expected in local funds, from the city of Beavercreek, as well as Greene County and Beavercreek Twp.

That project is committed to fiscal year 2019, Martin said.

Also on the TRAC draft list as a “Tier II project” is a plan to improve access to Dayton International Airport and U.S. 40 from I-70 westbound. That is identified as a total $11.9 million project.

Placement on the Tier II list means the project is not ready to move forward on construction. Stanley said the TID will request Tier I construction funds this calendar year.

“That just means we start the process of the ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) considering” moving the project to the top tier, Stanley said. 

The idea of building a “super street” along U.S. 35 in Greene County — as a way to address congestion and accidents — has been eyed for years.

The plan will create U-turns instead of left-hand turns at the Orchard Lane and Factory Road intersections, which had 100 crashes over the last three years, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation said in a local public meeting in November.

The project is estimated to cost $16 million to $17 million total, that spokesman said in November.

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