Construction on North Dixie Drive to start this summer

Phase 5A of the improvement plan will widen 0.7 miles of North Dixie - between Bartley Road and 1,000 feet south of Benchwood Road - from a two-lane road with narrow shoulders to a five-lane section with curb and gutter, sidewalk and street lighting. The project also entails consolidating the driveways of businesses and reconstructing a traffic signal at the intersection of Dixie and Stop Eight Roads.

“It will improve safety, efficiency, and improve traffic flow,” Gruner said. He added that the new road will include two through lanes in each direction and one center lane that is a left turn lane.

“If you have a car that needs to turn left, it has to sit in traffic and block the left lane, so it impedes traffic,” said Kristofer McClintick, assistant Harrison Twp. administrator.

The county is currently focused on removing trees from these areas before April 1, according to Gruner.

The total cost for North Dixie Drive, Phase 5A is $7.64 million. The project is being paid for by the county - $1.75 million, the city of Vandalia - $1.33 million, Harrison Twp. - $40,000, Montgomery County Water Services $640,000 and with $2.9 million in federal funds through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program and $985,000 in state funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Construction for Phase 5B, which involves widening North Dixie Drive between Needmore Road and Bartley Road in Harrison Twp., is set to begin in July of 2015, according to Gruner.

“With the curb sidewalks and the storm sewers it’s going to improve, aesthetically, the look of it and it’s going to improve the safety for pedestrians walking up and down the road. We do have quite a few pedestrians, especially in the area near Needmore and North Dixie,” McClintick said. He added that in some areas of North Dixie Drive, there is no way to tell the difference between the street and parking lots.

Paul Kuntz, local caterer and business owner, said he agrees that the planned improvements to North Dixie Drive are needed, but he’s hoping for something aesthetically pleasing that will persuade motorists to stop and shop.

“Something to make it where there is a reason why someone would want to invest in a business in this area and its attractive enough that somebody would want to stop and come into their business. Instead, what they are doing is making it easier for people to get through this area, which isn’t really conducive to getting more business,” said Kuntz, who owns the Ready 2 Go Drive-thru and Maggie’s Place, both located on North Dixie. “What I am going to get is, the customers that I currently have will be able to get in and out quicker.”

The total cost for North Dixie Drive, Phase 5B is $6.6 million, with funding coming from the county –$1.5 million; Harrison Twp.-$50,000; Montgomery County Water Services $540,000, and $3.0 million in federal funds through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Surface Transportation Program and MVRPC’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality. Gruner added that the county hopes to get $1.5 million in funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission. “We still need to compete for that funding,” he said.

Phases 5A and 5B are just a continuation of a project that started over 20 years ago.

“The county started widening North Dixie Drive in the 1990s. We’ve done one section after another, starting at the Dayton city limit and we’ll go all the way to the Vandalia City limits,” Gruner said.

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