State transportation funding could be key to large local road projects



I-675 in Centerville, Beavercreek is part of corridor to Wright-Patt area; airport area road network also an issue

Debate over Ohio’s new two-year transportation budget began this month in Columbus, a process that will help determine the fate of several notable local projects — on roads near the Dayton International Airport, and on I-675 in Centerville and Beavercreek.

Multiple prominent local projects have received some initial funding for planning purposes, but still need to secure construction funds from the state.

Centerville and Sugarcreek

One such project involves I-675′s Wilmington Pike interchange, on the border of Centerville and Sugarcreek Twp. The improvements would target growing congestion issues and push continuing economic growth in the area, according to Crystal Corbin, executive director for Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District.

“Whether that’s improvements on the ramps, whether it’s expanding the lanes, we don’t really know that yet,” Corbin said. “We won’t have a solution to that yet for for quite a while now.”

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The project is part of the busy corridor to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, she said. Montgomery County TID was recently notified that a federal omnibus bill approved by Congress included $3 million for this project.

“That will help us get through the engineering and detail design,” she said.

The projected cost cannot yet be determined, Corbin said, and the earliest construction would start would be no earlier than 2026.

The interchange project also has secured $3 million in funding via the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) of the Ohio Department of Transportation to complete a feasibility study before preliminary engineering, Corbin said.

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I-675 in Beavercreek

Another I-675 project, led by the city of Beavercreek, would turn the partial Grange Hall Road exit into a full interchange, giving it entrance and exit ramps from each direction.

The roadway network at the existing half interchange at Grange Hall Road and I-675 is an important transportation link for commuters traveling to and from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to Jeff Moorman, Beavercreek’s engineer.

“Changing this intersection from a partial to a full interchange will not only improve access and safety for commuters traveling to the (base), but will also help to improve travel to the various office buildings, regional commercial centers, and Soin Medical Center, which are all in close proximity of this interchange,” Moorman said. “We believe that the benefits of these improvements will reach well beyond the city of Beavercreek and into many surrounding jurisdictions.”

Currently, southbound I-675 drivers can exit to Grange Hall, but northbound drivers can’t. And Grange Hall drivers have an entrance ramp onto northbound I-675, but not onto southbound I-675. Drivers have to navigate to the Fairfield Road exit further north, or the Colonel Glenn exit to the south.

Beavercreek will soon begin a yearlong study that will evaluate possible configurations for the interchange, as well as the impacts to the surrounding roadway network, Moorman said. Once the study is completed, the city will work to pursue the funding needed to further advance the project, he said. No construction funding has been secured yet.

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Traffic around airport

A Northeast Logistics Access Project plans road improvements to accommodate increased traffic, particularly heavy truck traffic, servicing large logistics and distribution facilities near the I-70/I-75 Interchange and the Dayton International Airport.

The roads involved in Vandalia and Butler Twp. are Northwoods Boulevard, Lightner Road and the part of North Dixie Drive that runs between Northwoods and Lightner. Proposed changes include resurfacing the existing roadways, widening shoulders, installing concrete barriers, and adding tree lawns and bike paths.

The project is “critically important” to the city of Vandalia and all communities in Montgomery and Miami counties surrounding the Dayton International Airport, said Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner.

“Logistics development is burgeoning all around the airport, as large-scale warehouse and distribution facilities are now in full operation with more development under construction,” Gruner said. “The roadway network on the north and east sides of the airport has essentially not been improved since logistics development began.”

Resurfaced and widened roadways, two-way left-turn lanes, upgraded intersections and new traffic signals are needed to improve safety and travel reliability, he said. Reducing truck traffic through downtown Vandalia will benefit local residents, logistics and distribution businesses, and truck drivers alike, Gruner said.

The project, which is in the “very early stage of design,” is estimated to cost approximately $19.5 million, with environmental and engineering costs estimated at $2.1 million, right of way acquisition and utility relocations expected to cost $1.7 million, and construction estimated at $15.7 million, he said.

Funding for the design phase has been secured, with 80% federal funding provided through ODOT’s TRAC funding. Funding for the right-of-way phase has recently been secured through a $1.33 million federal grant awarded to the city of Vandalia, Gruner said.

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The project’s local sponsors, the Montgomery County Engineers Office and the city of Vandalia, anticipate beginning construction in 2026 and completing the project in 2027, he said.

“Whether this aggressive schedule is achieved is dependent upon securing sufficient federal funding for the remaining project phases, acquiring the property required to construct the project, relocating private utilities along the widened roadways, and obtaining and maintaining support for the proposed improvements from elected officials and the public,” Gruner said.

State transportation budget

The three projects hope to benefit from the $9 billion in federal funding Ohio is slated to receive for transportation projects over the next five years.

However, that’s not all new money, according to Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks.

“In fact, 70% of it was expected prior to the president signing the bill, leaving about 30% of Ohio’s allocation as new funding for the five-year span of the law,” Marchbanks told members of the state legislature Feb. 7 while providing testimony on Ohio’s $7.4 billion transportation budget. “This is still a significant increase and will help us continue to improve safety and complete needed infrastructure projects on our system.”

For the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget proposal, ODOT is anticipating a revenue increase of approximately 25% from fiscal year 2023, one that’s “due almost entirely” to the passage of the federal infrastructure package in November 2021, including $1.6 billion for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.

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Over the 2-year timespan, the department plans to invest $2.2 billion for pavement, $717 million for bridges, $360 million for dedicated safety upgrades and $579 million in large capacity-adding projects “like those that are reconfiguring our urban interstates,” he said.

One of several initiatives Marchbanks highlighted in the budget proposal was $10 million for a “transformative” study of Ohio’s transportation system.

The study would analyze population shifts, economic development, current system capacity, 10-30-year passenger and freight travel needs, future congestion risks and other issues.

State budget coverage

Over the next four-plus months, Ohio’s state legislature will negotiate what gets funded and what doesn’t in the annual two-year state budget process. This is one of many articles the Dayton Daily News will publish, analyzing how those decisions affect the Miami Valley’s roads, schools, economic development and more.

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