Construction is about to begin on a $4.1 million ramp from Ohio 73 in Springboro onto northbound Interstate 75.
Crews have already begun clearing brush in anticipation of construction on the project, sought by Springboro leaders for the past decade. Weather permitting, the ramp is to open in September.
“It’s something that people have wanted as long as I can remember,” Springboro City Manager Chris Thompson said.
The ramp will allow westbound drivers from Springboro to merge directly onto I-75.
The project is expected to relieve traffic tie-ups and improve safety issues linked to the stacking of cars waiting to turn across eastbound traffic onto the existing ramp.
“That is a mess. You do get backed up in it,” long-time resident Harriet Tucker said.
The existing ramp, which veers south before turning back north and merging onto I-75, will remain in use for eastbound motorists approaching the interchange from Franklin, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
While questioning the cost, Tucker supported the project.
“If it makes the traffic go through better and the area safer, I say go ahead,” Tucker said.
The project was among the first group taken on by Warren County Transportation Improvement District (TID), formed in 2011 by the Warren County Engineer’s Office and local officials.
The TID is working on another $60 million in road improvements, including $25 million to improve the Interstate 71 interchange at Fields-Ertel and Mason-Montgomery roads and $30 million to $34 million to improve the I-71 interchange at Western Row Road.
The TID is also assisting Springboro in funding improvements of the intersection at Ohio 73 (Central Avenue) and Ohio 741 (Main Street).
The northbound I-75 ramp was part of plans for reconfiguration of the interchange and bridge, part of the state’s widening and improvement of I-75 in Warren County.
However, the Ohio Department of Transportation left the ramp out of final plans, while the city pursued acquisition of property along the proposed route, including a closed BP station.
There is no ODOT funding of the project.
The $4.1 million cost estimate is $200,000 less than previous projections. The funding is being split between the Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), Springboro and TID.
MVRPC is contributing the largest share of funding, more than $2.1 million in federal highway funding for construction and administration.
The MVRPC funding, approved after an application was prepared by LJB Engineering, was on hold while Congress debated federal highway funding.
In addition to the federal funding, Springboro provided more than $1.4 million, including $850,000 for right of way acquisition and $597,000 for construction and administration. The TID funded $450,000 for design work, according Dan Corey, project coordinator for the Warren County Engineer’s Office.
“This project is another example of collaborative efforts between Springboro, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Warren County Transportation Improvement District, and Ohio Department of Transportation to provide a highly significant project that will serve the residents and corporate citizens of Springboro, Warren County and the State of Ohio,” Corey said in an email.
The traffic light will be adjusted for the new traffic patterns and a waterline relocated during construction by Barrett Paving, according to ODOT.
During construction, no lane closures are planned, but road shoulders are to be closed on 500 feet of Ohio 73 and 3,000 feet of I-71, Corey said.