Kettering leaders say a multi-million dollar project will improve County Line Road safety and help land more area jobs, but several residents have raised concerns about the planned work.
Kettering will partner with Beavercreek and federal and state government agencies on the $4 million upgrade to the heavily traveled County Line Road, widening it from the intersection of Dorothy Lane to the intersection of Vale Drive.
Additional lanes would help accommodate traffic, said city officials, who want to widen the road from three to five lanes, replace sidewalks and adjust street lights. The work would result in two through lanes in each direction, plus a center turn lane.
Some residents in living in the area where the project is planned say they have concerns that adding more lanes would create bigger problems.
Bill Drake lives on County Line Road. He said he thinks the project is flawed, will cause “excessive traffic in the area,” and will not resolve a high volume of traffic from Reynolds & Reynolds.
Beavercreek resident Harry Fritts said putting an interchange at Interstate 675 off of Research Boulevard would be a welcome addition and would help alleviate traffic congestion.
“Putting an on/off ramp at I-675 off of Research Blvd, which presently goes under I-675, would solve the whole problem,” Fritts explained. “About 90 percent of the traffic that is causing the problem at County Line and Dorothy Lane is from Reynolds & Reynolds employees trying to get onto I-675.”
That interchange appears unlikely.
John Sliemers, assistant city engineer for Kettering, said the project is in the preliminary stages of design, and all of the comments and concerns from citizens are being evaluated.
“Several residents requested a traffic signal at the intersection of County Line Road and Vale Drive. Additionally requested was an interchange at I-675 and Shakertown Road. The feasibility of both are being considered, taking appropriate data in to account,” Sliemers said.
He said the project team will consider all questions and comments.
“Our project goal is to best serve the users of County Line Road, as well as the adjacent residents,” he said.
Sliemers added that the request for an interchange at I-675 and Shakertown Road is one that would have to be considered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
He said a new interchange could cost approximately $40 million, or roughly 10 times the cost of the widening of County Line Road.
“An interchange at this location would change traffic patterns, but not necessarily negate the benefits of the currently planned road widening project to complete the last remaining bottle-necked segment of a major roadway traversing three cities over 10 miles,” Sliemers said.
Tricia Bishop, District 7 environmental coordinator for ODOT, says the agencies involved are glad to receive feedback and review concerns that are put forth.
“That is the reason that we have listed all three entities involved in this project (ODOT, Kettering, Beavercreek), so people can reach out to be heard,” she said. “I can tell you that as far as adding an interchange at I-675, ODOT is not interested in doing that. A traffic light added at Vale Drive needs to meet eight points of what is called ‘Signal Warrants’ criteria. If it is installed and doesn’t meet the criteria, then the project is at risk for losing federal funding.”
Kettering also plans to extend the road to make room for business growth.
“This project is important for the City of Kettering and the City of Beavercreek, as we see continued growth in the Miami Valley Research Park,” said Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser. “If you take all the employees collectively in the park, it’s probably our largest employment center,” he said.
The city recently purchased 300 undeveloped acres within the Miami Valley Research Park for new jobs and new developments.
A traffic evaluation for the project reveals that the area is a “critical corridor to access the Miami Valley Research Park.”
The evaluation showed a traffic count in the area of 16,260 vehicles per day in 2015 and an estimated 21,000 per day in 2035. An analysis of travel time on Tonawanda Trail states that the typical travel time during morning peak traffic is 131 seconds. The completed project will lower that time to 107 seconds.
Federal and state funds will cover approximately 60 percent of the project, and the remaining cost will be shared between the City of Kettering and the City of Beavercreek.
The project is expected to begin in spring 2021, with completion by fall 2022. Comments are requested to be submitted to city officials by Aug. 20.
Comments can be mailed to City of Kettering, 3600 Shroyer Rd., Kettering, OH 45429 or City of Beavercreek, 1368 Research Park Dr., Beavercreek, OH 45432.
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