Transportation projects to be included in stimulus package

April 11th, 2009    Author: Marsha Mundy    Filed Under: News

Governor Ted Strickland was in Cincinnati last week and announced that Hamilton and Clermont counties will receive $20 million in stimulus money for the Eastern Corridor project.

According to Clermont County Commissioner Ed Humphrey, the money will be used for a preliminary engineering and environmental study for a multi-modal program of improvement.

“This money will be used for a study for the eastern corridor that connects I275 and state route 32. This would be a limited access highway to connect 32,” said Humphrey. “They will be looking into a new rail transit service, expanded bus service and a transit highway.”

The project extends from Cincinnati through eastern Hamilton County and into western Clermont County. Funding for the project was based on economic distress factors including county jobless rates and annual average income. In Clermont County, the rate of unemployment is 9.2 percent and the average income is $34,200. In Hamilton County, the unemployment rate is 7.7 percent and the average income is $41,000.

The completed studies have indicated that the project will reduce travel for 50 million vehicle miles per year and will create an additional 10,000 new jobs. These jobs would be associated with future redevelopment and land use planning.

"This project would bring economic development to Clermont and Hamilton counties along the route of that corridor," said Humphrey. "This will be an all new highway, with interchanges at access points, allowing easier flow from Eastgate into Cincinnati. It would relieve traffic on both I471 and I71 and would postpone the need to expand those highways."

The project is expected to provide a better connection between Clermont and Hamilton counties and provide a safer, wider roadwork system for the eastern portion of southwest Ohio. The corridor will encompass all modes of transportation including bus, rail, highway, and pedestrian/bike traffic.

"This project has been worked on for more than 15 years with conversations among different people," said Humphrey. "There are no details yet, but two alternatives have been discussed. One possibility would use the Northwest and Southern Rail Road line from Cincinnati to Milford. The other possibility is that it may connect to Eastgate with new rail and a lot wider right of way and would include a highway and rail ports. An engineer will be selected to determine the route, but we are still in the very early planning and engineering phase."

The preliminary engineering study work will begin immediately to achieve environmental clearance and stage one planning. When all phases of this project are complete, it will facilitate multi-state regional mobility, economic growth and development. This project represents the first major transportation improvement to the corridor in more than 40 years. The estimated completion of the project is scheduled for 2012.
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