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* News Release *
 
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
For Immediate Release

MAJOR OHIO 747 WIDENING PROJECT BEGINS
Smith Road to Tylersville Road, West Chester Township

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens announces that the next phase of Ohio 747 improvements is slated to begin in June. This major safety project will widen the heavily-traveled two-lane road to five lanes -- two northbound, two southbound, and a center turn lane -- from south of Smith Road northward to Tylersville Road. Significant upgrades to the Smith Road intersection are also planned.

The project is expected to take 13 months to complete and construction will be performed while maintaining the current two lanes of traffic at all times. Access to all businesses will also be maintained throughout the course of the project. While there will be no road closings, motorists may encounter occasional minor delays. When possible, motorists may want to find alternate routes in an effort to reduce congestion throughout the construction zone.

"This is an extremely important project for West Chester Township," said Wilkens. "State Route 747 is a major north-south route that services existing development and feeds the growing areas to the north. Our goal is to vastly improve safety and eliminate the capacity problems inherent with an outdated road such as this. Widening to five lanes will reduce much of the frustrating rush hour congestion now experienced by the traveling public." Traffic counts average about 24,000 vehicles per day along this stretch of roadway, according to BCEO traffic and safety engineers.

A contract for the project was awarded to SK Construction of Middletown which submitted a low bid of $4,990,541. 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 also contributed $300,000 toward the preliminary engineering.

BCEO Facilitates Partnering with State

This section of state-maintained Ohio 747 is being improved by the County Engineer's Office in an effort to expedite construction, Wilkens stated in a press release last year. "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.

"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 south of Smith up to Tylersville Road."

The BCEO began development of engineering plans for the project's design phase in 2001. Right-of-way acquisitions involved 23 parcels and totaled $1.6 million, with approximately $550,000 of that donated by private businesses. Wilkens noted that 80 percent of the right-of-way costs were paid for through federal funds. Utility relocations began in 2003 and are nearly complete.

Ohio 747: A History of Improvements

This is one in a series of projects begun in the late 1980s designed to improve Ohio 747 from Crescentville Road north to Ohio 129. The BCEO partnered with ODOT to complete the very first phase as well as phase two. The first phase was completed in the fall of 1990. That project cost $3,944,000 and widened 1.2 miles of Ohio 747 from Crescentville Road to Ashley Drive. The next phase involved a new bridge and railroad crossing north of Port Union followed by widening the entire section from Ashley Drive to just south of Smith Road, which was completed in 1998. Improvements were also made to the 747 / Tylersville Road intersection by the Butler County TID and the BCEO in 1996.

Following the current project, the BCEO will begin construction in 2005 on an intersection improvement at Ohio 747 and Princeton Road that will include widening 747 south of the intersection to Ohio 129. Additionally, the TID in cooperation with the BCEO is working on plans to widen 747 from Tylersville to Ohio 129 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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