Butler County Engineer
Gregory J. Wilkens met today with members of the Trenton Area
Access Committee (TAAC) to discuss developments on the proposed
State Route 63 Extension. While several issues were addressed,
Wilkens affirmed that design and engineering are moving forward
and that he will continue to rely on guidance from the TAAC in
finalizing the project.
TAAC Chairperson Ken
Reed said "We know this is a very important project locally
and regionally and we believe the State regards it the same way.
Our job as an advisory committee is to help bring about local
consensus in an effort to make the State Route 63 Extension a
Results of last December's
highly successful workshop, the third in a series, were reported
by Wilkens who noted that several positive ideas from the public
have since been implemented into the S.R. 63 plan. Small group
local work sessions have been held throughout the corridor over
the last few months in response to requests made at the workshop.
"These meetings were very fruitful and have led to an all
around better project," Wilkens said. "Minor adjustments
were made to the Preferred Alternative Alignment to better suit
the needs of local property owners. Public safety and transportation
efficiency are crucial and what we have now properly addresses
those issues. This is why public involvement is so important."
Wilkens also spoke
about the increased cost estimate to build the new roadway, which
jumped from $47 million to $79.1 million. "We evaluated
the needs of the study area, including technical analyses plus
consideration of public input and environmental issues. What
we found was that some of the original concepts needed to be
adjusted in order to better achieve the most appropriate transportation
solution. The initial plan called for building at-grade intersections
all along the project; however, we believe the construction of
full access interchanges at Wayne Madison Road and Woodsdale
Road with limited access points elsewhere will better accommodate
local traffic patterns and land use plans."
Phasing the construction
is being considered as a means to offset the project's higher
cost. There is a proposal to build the first phase from Wayne
Madison Road west to U.S. 127 since this would initially help
solve traffic problems in high accident areas such as S.R. 73
west of Trenton. Phase two would then connect the new roadway
from Wayne Madison Road east to S.R. 4 and existing S.R. 63.
Part of the project
implementation strategy now includes "value engineering,"
according to Rick Record of project consultant Balke Engineers.
"With value engineering design options and costs are scrutinized
to get the best benefit at the least cost," he said. During
this review period, the TAAC will present the modified Preferred
Alternative to the public in a fourth workshop, which is being
planned for this summer.