Greene County commissioners will file paperwork with the Ohio Department of Transportation next month to sponsor the estimated $100 million U.S. Route 35 redesign project — a highway design alternative expected to increase safety and reduce traffic congestion.
“We are actively inquiring our community partners — that being Beavercreek, Beavercreek Twp. and the City of Xenia — to collaborate with us and be co-sponsors,” Brandon Huddleson, the Greene County administrator, said last week.
Huddleson said he has had preliminary meetings with city managers and the township administrator to discuss financial aspects of the project. In order to sustain momentum, funding is needed for the right-of-way acquisitions, Huddleson said.
According to Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission estimates, the right-of-way acquisitions could cost about $6 million. Local jurisdictions may have to raise $1.2 million for a 20 percent match.
The Route 35 redesign, near Orchard Lane in Beavercreek, will remove and replace traffic signals with a Texas turnaround or Texas U-turn — a highway design that uses turnaround or u-turn ramps to allow traffic moving in one direction to turn around and travel in the opposite direction using an under or overpass.
The county will ask the ODOT Transportation Review Advisory Council to fund the right-of-way acquisitions.
“As part of that, we need both local support in the form of letters and also monetary support,” Huddleson said.
Huddleson said he did not ask for a specific amount. The community managers will discuss the issue with their elected leaders before resuming discussions with the county.
Xenia City Council passed a resolution endorsing the Route 35 project last year, said Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman. He believes the council will discuss the city’s role in the project at the next council meeting this month.
“We feel that while the project won’t be occurring within our municipal borders, we are a definite and direct beneficiary of the project,” he said. “We feel it’s important from a safety perspective. Our residents use that corridor a lot.”
The City of Beavercreek has already taken on a section of the project, according to ODOT and city officials.
That $2.5 million construction project will eliminate the existing intersection at Shakertown Road and Route 35 and extend Shakertown Road to the east to meet Factory Road, said Michael Thonnerieux, the Beavercreek interim public administrative services director. In addition to removing the intersection, the project will correct an offset intersection at Factory Road and Alpha-Bellbrook Road/ Yellow Brick Road.
Thonnerieux said federal funds will cover 70 percent of the construction costs.
“Alpha Bellbrook Road will also be realigned to match what is envisioned for the US 35 interchange project in the future,” Thonnerieux said. “These improvements should improve traffic flow and eliminate an additional intersection on US 35.”
Construction on the Shakertown Road project is projected to start during the 2019/2020 construction season.
Beavercreek Twp. supports the highway redesign project, but trustees are looking for details on actual costs and expenses associated with the project said Tom Kretz, a township trustee.
“There are projected costs, but those costs are based on 2014 projections not on 2019 or 2020 actual construction costs,” he said. “So the concern is when we come to the local match for these types of projects, we want to make sure as trustees that we know what we’re signing up for.”
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