Officials announced Thursday they have secured almost $20 million in funding for three construction projects in the heavily traveled corridor.
“It’s probably one of the most critical projects in the region because of the safety aspect and also the economic … impact that the project has,” said Mark Policinski, executive director of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments.
The projects are:
• Expanding the exit lane at the northbound I-71 Fields-Ertel/Mason-Montgomery exit that will allow vehicles to exit I-71 and move onto an expanded off ramp sooner. Officials said this will create more separation between freeway and exiting traffic. The project costs $2 million. It is expected to start in the third quarter of 2013 and be completed by the second quarter of 2014.
• Building a “loop ramp” to relieve congestion at the Fields-Ertel/Mason-Montgomery intersection by allowing northbound traffic to bypass the intersection. The cost is $12.2 million. The project will start in the first quarter of 2014 and could be finished by the fourth quarter of 2015. During morning rush hour, 40 percent of traffic traveling through the intersection is from the northbound I-71 off-ramp.
• Access management improvements are planned for Gregory Street and Fields Ertel Road. The work costs $2.4 million. It will start in the third quarter of 2015 and could be done by the second quarter of 2016.
Already two projects are done.
• A $1.6 million project that involved building an additional northbound lane from Fields Ertel Road to Parkway Drive.
• A $1.4 million project where 22 traffic signals were coordinated in the area.
Warren County Commissioner Dave Young said the projects won’t completely solve the traffic headaches “simply because the problems are with growth and with congestion, (and) you’re never going to completely fix (it). … There’s still going to be congestion at times.” But he said the quality of life will dramatically improve for residents and visitors.