Work will begin this week on the $20 million diverging diamond interchange at Union Centre Boulvard and Interstate 75 in West Chester Twp.
Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said he expects construction will last for two seasons and that the contractor will attempt to minimize traffic delays at the interchange. Traffic will be maintained with some lane closures and a four- to five-day road/bridge closure over a weekend.
The new interchange design allows “free flowing turns when entering and exiting an interstate,” according a transportation video.
Separated by concrete barriers, “both sides drive on the opposite side of the road before crossing back and resuming their original pattern,” the video states.
“It looks confusing maybe on the surface, but when you are in it, you just go with the flow and you won’t even recognize what’s really taking place,” Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens previously told the Journal-News.
He described the DDI design as one that eliminates left-hand turns. Drivers wanting to get on the interstate no longer have to wait for a left-turn signal: They simply veer off to the left as they cross the bridge and head down the ramp.
The contractor began work posting signs Thursday morning.
The Butler County Engineer’s Office, together with West Chester Township, will keep the traveling public well informed as to the progression of the project for continued safe commuting.
The Butler County commissioners awarded the $20 million contract to the John R. Jurgenson Company. It is entirely funded with West Chester’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money.
“Infrastructure improvements like the DDI project are consistent with the mission of the TIF, which will provide a means for continued investment by developers in commercial property keeping West Chester at the epicenter of economic vitality in the region,” Township Administrator Larry Burks said.
The early estimate for the project was $14 million but Wilkens had to revise the projection a couple times due to the construction market this year. The township is paying $6 million in cash and sold $14 million in TIF-backed bonds.
The DDI is tentatively scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2020.