View of eastbound U.S.35 lanes at left before three lanes are squeezed down to two near Smithville Road. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Commuters rejoice: Dayton set to approve widening U.S. 35

Dayton’s elected leaders appear to be on board with widening U.S. 35, which supporters say will help ease traffic congestion in a notorious bottleneck.

Today, the Dayton City Commission had a first reading of an ordinance consenting to the state’s plan to widen U.S. 35, starting in 2021.

MORE: Local leaders clash over U.S. 35 widening project

The project will widen the roadway to three lanes from two in each direction from Livingston Avenue east to the city limit.

U.S. 35 has three lanes in each direction across most of the city, starting on the west side of the Great Miami River.

The state will pay 100 percent of the cost of the project, which is expected to get underway beginning in the spring of 2021.

The city did not want to put money into this project, and it hasn’t, but it is willing to support the project if it’s what the region wants, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Whaley said the Dayton region has some of the lowest levels of traffic congestion in the nation, and it is really easy to get around the city.

“Here in Dayton, you can get anywhere in 10 to 15 minutes,” she said.

Traffic backs up daily on U.S. 35, but it’s not a long wait compared to other U.S. cities, Whaley said.

“The community’s expectation for being able to sit in no traffic all the time is what this is about,” she said. “That expectation will continue to be met.”

Studies and some local groups have long called for extending U.S. 35’s three lanes out from Livingston Avenue to U.S. 675.

“As you know, it’s been priority No. 1 for years,” Brian Martin, executive director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, said last fall.

MORE: Long-discussed U.S. 35 widening could move forward

In addition to widening the road from four to six lanes between Steve Whalen Boulevard and I-675, the project also will construct a median wall in that area and will result in lighting and signal upgrades, said Mandi Dillon, spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“This is a $14 million dollar construction project which will add a third lane in each direction to alleviate congestion during peak hours and improve safety along U.S. 35 in that area,” Dillon said.

The project is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2022 or the spring of 2023.

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