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* News Release *
 
Friday, December 3, 1999
For Immediate Release

STATE ROUTE 63 CORRIDOR PROJECT RECEIVES TIER 1 RANKING

Butler County Engineer Dean C. Foster announces that the State Route 63 Corridor Project has been given priority status by the Ohio Department of Transportation's TRAC (Transportation Review Advisory Council) committee. The Trenton Subarea portion was elevated to a Tier 1 ranking, while the Oxford section received a Tier 2 designation. With the new Tier 1 status, $27.7 million in state highway funds has been allocated to the Trenton portion of the SR 63 Extension.

ODOT officials released the new project rankings today after which Foster made the following statement:

"This is extremely good news for Butler County. The Tier 1 ranking gives this project guaranteed construction funding which will now allow us to set an alignment and begin detail plan design. Construction could begin as early as 2003 on the Trenton portion which has a preliminary cost estimate of $47 million.

"Today culminates our efforts in having this project ranked as a Tier 1. Through our leadership, vision, and focus on providing our citizens with a safe and efficient highway system, we have achieved the quickest turnaround time for any major project in Butler County. Never before has a major project been taken from the conception stage to the planning and implementation stage as with the Oxford section. We are grateful for the assistance of ODOT District 8 who have shared our vision and focus for this project. The Trenton Area Access Committee (TAAC) worked very hard and shares in our success. We appreciate too the efforts of David Daugherty of the Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce and Jack O'Neill who chaired the State Route 63 Business Corridor Task Force.

"Realizing in 1994 that State Route 73 and other roads in the Trenton area were seeing substantial increases in traffic, I made the decision to re-evaluate the Trenton Bypass concept to better suit the needs of this growing area. Throughout 1994 and 1995, spot improvements were made at the Wayne Madison / Trenton Road intersection, the Wayne Madison / SR 73 intersection, and along portions of Wayne Madison Road to handle the increased demands and improve safety. Additional upgrades were made this year at SR 73 and Wayne Madison and we are also on line to build a new bridge over the Great Miami River in Woodsdale.

"Work began in earnest on the Trenton Bypass in November 1995. We re-evaluated the project's original alignment to determine if it met current and future needs. Being ranked second to last on ODOT's priority list, there appeared to be little hope that the project would be moved up. In fact, it was nearly dropped from the project listing; however, through the efforts of our BCEO staff and overwhelming support from the local Butler County community, ODOT has given the project new life."

Local Leaders Push For Project

Foster made a presentation to the TRAC committee in June 1998 with support from numerous local and state officials, Miller Brewing, Miami University, and other members of the local business community seeking elevated status for the State Route 63 Corridor Project. As a result, ODOT moved the Trenton portion up from Tier 3 to Tier 2 status last year, enabling the BCEO to proceed with environmental studies.

A second presentation was made to the TRAC committee in October 1999 in an effort to elevate the Trenton portion to a Tier 1 ranking and the Oxford portion to Tier 2. Foster, Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs, and numerous other political and corporate leaders urged the TRAC members to consider economic impact and growing transportation demands when evaluating the future funding status for this project.

Project Benefits

As commercial, industrial, and residential development continue to press northward in Butler County, there is a growing need to address safety issues and roadway congestion. The State Route 63 study evolved from the original Trenton Bypass concept, which by today's standards would not meet the transportation needs in this area of Butler County. A new controlled-access highway is one option that is being considered. Such a highway would relieve congestion on surrounding roads, create a better transportation linkage for the Miller Brewing facility and other industries, provide safer access to Oxford and Miami University, and service the growing north side of Hamilton.

For a complete overview and historical development of the project, please visit the State Route 63 Corridor Study information page here on the BCEO's web site.

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