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* News Release *
 
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
For Immediate Release

NEXT PHASE OF OHIO 747 WIDENING ON SCHEDULE FOR 2004
Smith Road to Tylersville Road

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens reports that design plans for the next phase of the Ohio 747 widening are nearly complete with a scheduled 2004 construction date still on target. The heavily traveled, two-lane road will be widened to five lanes from just south of Smith Road north to Tylersville Road, with significant upgrades to the Smith Road intersection also planned.

This section of state-maintained highway is being improved by the County Engineer's Office in an effort to expedite construction, according to Wilkens. "Our ability to coordinate right-of-way and environmental studies has allowed us to accelerate the process and meet the federal requirement for local matching funds. While revenues are limited at the state level as well as at the local level, making this project a County priority means it can be built much more quickly," he said.

The BCEO began development of engineering plans for the project's design phase in 2001. Final right-of-way and utility plans are now complete and ready for review. Bids for construction will be received in early 2004 with utility relocations possibly starting sooner. Wilkens noted that utility and right-of-way costs are expected to be very high with this project: "Right-of-way acquisition alone is going to cost approximately $1.8 million. Fortunately, 80 percent of that will be paid for with federal funds."

The total price for the Ohio 747 widening is estimated to be $7 million, with actual construction costs projected at $5.2 million. Construction will be managed by the BCEO as a Federal LPA (Local Public Agency) project. Funding will consist of federal grant money through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments with additional sources from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and private right-of-way donations. West Chester Township is also contributing $300,000 toward the preliminary engineering.

"This is another fine example of partnering among agencies in an effort to bring about a much-needed project," Wilkens emphasized. "The State actually had plans to do the bridge portion of the project and we felt it was important to widen the whole road. So we worked closely with ODOT, OKI, and the Township to secure funds for the entire section from Smith up to Tylersville Road." Expected to take two years to complete, construction will be performed while maintaining two lanes of traffic at all times.

On the heels of this project, the Butler County TID in cooperation with the BCEO is working on plans to widen 747 from Tylersville to Ohio 129 (The Fox Highway). TID officials say they have cleared the majority of funding hurdles necessary to move the project forward. That section is slated for construction beginning in 2006.

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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