Infrastructure projects abound in southwest Warren County

Some of the projects are undergoing pre-construction work such as moving power lines on Socialville-Fosters Road where a $6.43 million project will begin to widen the road between Innovation Way and Columbia Road as well as replace the bridge over Interstate 71 with a wider five-lane bridge, according to the Warren County Engineer’s Office. The work could begin as early as April 1 with a project being completed by year’s end, according to Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison.

But that is only one of several projects underway in that area being managed by the county, Deerfield Twp., Mason, the Warren County Transportation Improvement District, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Tunison said that the long-awaited, fully funded $9.5 million relocation of Columbia Road is nearing fruition as bids will be taken March 16. He said the project is expected to begin in May 2016 and be completed in the fall 0f 2017.

The relocation of Columbia Road from Western Row Road is designed to better support traffic flow and improve the northbound ramp from I-71. Local officials said by extending the distance between the I-71 off ramp intersection and Columbia Road as well as improving turn lanes will allow motorists to move easier through the area. It will also widen Western Row Road east of Kings Island Drive.

Also the Western Row Road and I-71 interchange area will be the first phase of that improvement project is e expected to start construction about June 15 with a projected completion date of the fall of 2017. The second phase of the interchange improvement project is currently in the right of way acquisition process. However, construction is expected to start in April 2017 and has a projected completion date of June 2019.

In addition, there will be auxiliary lanes built on I-71 between Western Row Road and Ohio 741. He said auxiliary lanes help to decrease congestion between the exits.

Once all of the improvements are completed, there will be two northbound on ramps for northbound I-71 from east and west Western Row Road and an off ramp for southbound I-71 which will tie into Innovation Way. In addition, there will be other infrastructure improvements such as new sidewalks and other shared use paths in that area, according to officials.

The total cost to build the interchange improvement project is about $32 million, Tunison said.

Also tying into the Western Row Road project is the ongoing $5 million project to widen Kings Island Drive that is expected to be completed this December. Officials said project is designed to support incoming traffic from I-71. The project also includes an additional left turn lane into the amusement park for southbound traffic along with new medians, new curbs and gutters, new traffic signals, overhead signage and a bike path between Western Row Road and Great Wolf Drive.

He also said there is a two-phase $7 million plan that includes widening a portion of the Mason-Montgomery Road corridor. That project includes an additional southbound lane on Mason-Montgomery Road between Parkway Drive and Fields-Ertel Road as well as additional improvements between Parkway Drive and Socialville-Fosters Road. Officials said the right of way acquisition is expected to occur in 2016 for both projects and the entire project is projected to be completed in 2018.

Also in that area is Tunison said there is a $6 million improvement project is planned for the Innovation Way corridor and a $2 million improvement to Duke Boulevard in conjunction with the current expansion of the Procter & Gamble facility in Mason that is expected to be completed by mid-2018. The costs for that project is through tax increment financing from the P&G TIF district, Tunison said.

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