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* News Release *
Thursday, December 3, 1998
For Immediate Release

Preliminary Work to Begin on S.R. 63 Corridor Extension

Butler County Engineer Dean C. Foster reports that development of the Trenton Area Access Project will proceed, particularly in light of the State's Tier 2 ranking for the project announced Tuesday. Planning and environmental work has already begun according to Foster, who was pleased with the new ranking.

"Our goal was to move this project forward by getting it re-designated from a Tier 3 to at least a Tier 2 ranking, and I'm extremely happy we were able to do that," he said. "A Tier 2 ranking means that ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) can now spend their time reviewing our work and that they deem it a worthwhile project to move through the plan development process. Tier 3 projects however are not scheduled for any further development by the State through 2003." By obtaining Tier 2 status, Foster's office has ensured the Trenton project remains viable. The project is the first segment of a possible extension of State Route 63 from Monroe to Oxford.

"The environmental studies are broken down into three phases and we are currently nearing completion of the first phase," according to Foster. "We intend to wrap up the entire environmental process for the Trenton portion of the project by early 2000 and have formed a Trenton Area Access Committee to help with this phase. Everybody's hard work has paid off as evidenced by the project's move up in status."

Monroe to Oxford Corridor Being Studied

Foster noted however that to ensure a logical terminus, the entire Monroe to Oxford corridor has to be analyzed. He said that some phase one environmental work can be anticipated in the Oxford region during the initial planning stage.

Concurrently, preliminary design work will begin in 1999, including surveying and aerial photography of the corridor. "Construction plans could be ready within four years," Foster emphasized. "Locally we're committed to the environmental work, detail plan design, right-of-way purchase, and 25 percent of the construction cost." Throughout the project the BCEO will also coordinate with the City of Monroe and its segment of S.R. 63 as well as with the City of Oxford and its plans for a bypass. "Our goal is to present an iron-clad case at the State's next TRAC (Transportation Review Advisory Council) meeting to move the Trenton portion of the project up to a Tier 1," added Foster.

Project Developed From Trenton Bypass Concept

The Trenton Area Access Study / S.R. 63 Corridor Evaluation evolved from the original Trenton Bypass concept. That project came about in the late 1970s when Miller Brewing Company made plans to open a plant south of Trenton. When the plant didn't open, interest in the bypass waned during the 1980s. With the eventual opening of Miller in 1990 and subsequent commercial and residential development in the area, the BCEO revived the Trenton Bypass and modified it to accommodate today's traffic needs.

No longer a "bypass" looping from S.R. 73 around Trenton, the initial phase of the project now encompasses a corridor from S.R. 4 just north of S.R. 63, west toward Miller Brewery, and terminating at U.S. 127 in the Seven Mile area. An extension of this corridor is also being evaluated from U.S. 127, west to U.S. 27, and along the south and west side of Oxford (the future Oxford Bypass).

Foster engineered a major presentation to the Ohio Department of Transportation's TRAC committee last June. The nine-member board is comprised of several key personnel who are charged with the difficult task of prioritizing finances for dozens of major projects statewide. With support from numerous local and state officials, Miller, Miami University, and other members of the local business community, Foster presented his case for the new Butler County road. He said following the release of Tuesday's new rankings that he is "very pleased we made an impact."

The Engineer's Office has already presented the Trenton Area Access Study to the general public. Over a hundred people attended a public input meeting held on September 9 at Edgewood High School. The meeting was designed to provide information about the developing project and to seek preliminary input on transportation issues facing the Trenton area. At least two more public meetings are planned in an effort to solve existing and future traffic concerns in northern Butler County.

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