Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud graduated from Clermont College in the late 1970′s. He said he realized even then that the college needed an alternative access. It took him 30 years and few thousand dollars in federal grant money to convince a county engineer.
“I want to thank Pat for getting excited about this project,” Proud said.
When Pat Manger took the reins as Clermont County Engineer in 2003, extending Old State Route 74 to College Drive and the University of Cincinnati Clermont College was immediately on his radar.
Commissioner Ed Humphrey said that in addition to the increased access for students, residents, and church goers on College Drive, the road provides a much needed alternative for emergency responders.
"Back in my days as a volunteer fire chief I was very concerned with access," Humphrey said. "I'm thrilled to have multiple ways of accessing this area and it's a tremendous benefit to this community."
As excited about the extension as Manger and the commissioners are, no one was more thrilled than UC Clermont Dean Dr. Gregory Sojka.
"The college has experienced unprecedented growth in the last few years and we are projecting an approximate nine percent increase in fall enrollment," said Dr. Sojka. "We thank our community partners in helping to make this new roadway a reality - this was truly a partnership effort."
The partnership brought public and private officials from every level of government together. Manger said the $700,000 project was completed under budget and the Appalachian Regional Commission funneled $300,000 in federal dollars into the project. The Ohio Department of Development provided $125,000 and the Ohio Public Works Commission also contributed $625,000 in tax dollars to the road. UC Clermont and Southwest Ohio Development Center each contributed $100,000 and $25,000 in funds respectively and local land owner Mary Winn Gatch donated 2.7 acres for the road.
"It took a lot of different types of skills and talents to make this happen," Manger said. "I want to thank our crews and contractors for the hard work they did to get this project done quickly and under budget."
Manger said the road will provide a very smooth ride thanks to a piece of technology that is being used for the first time in Clermont County.
"It's a very smooth road thanks to a sonic leveling device used to take out irregularities in the sub-base," Manger said.
The device measures the distance between the desired road surface and the gravel road bed and makes sure the correct amount of asphalt is used to make up the difference.
In addition to the road's surface, the project also included construction of curbs, storm drains, and storm sewer and signs for the new road.
Batavia Township Trustee James Sauls Jr. said the trustees were very glad to see the road come to completion and he said they have high hopes for future development in the area thanks to increased access.
Sporty's Pilot Shop founder and chairman Hal Shevers said the road was designed with future expansion of the Clermont County Airport in mind and will have no impact on airport operations.
Currently the road expansion begins at a two-way stop sign intersection with College Drive and Clermont College Drive. Manger said his department will begin traffic studies immediately and if the traffic is heavy enough a stoplight could be installed early in 2011 at the latest. Manger also said a new stoplight at the intersection of Amelia Olive Branch Road and Old 74 is in the design phase and his department is working on getting materials together for installation.
Manger provided several statistics for the project. The construction took a total of 77 work days, or three and a half months to complete. In all, 1,700 truck loads of dirt were moved, 300 truck loads of gravel were used, 170 loads of asphalt were needed and 1,000 pounds of grass seed were planted on the hill sides around the new road.