First Phase of $143M Project to Modernize I-75 Begins

Fri December 21, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Linda J. Hutchinson



Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) began the $143 million project to modernize Interstate 75 through downtown Dayton Nov. 20. ODOT Director James Beasley kicked off construction with a ceremony accompanied by City of Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Federal Highways Ohio Division Administrator Dennis Decker, and many other business leaders and elected officials from the Dayton area.

The estimated project cost is $180 million, including engineering, property acquisition and construction. The first phase is expected to cost $14 million.

ODOT is urging drivers to exercise extreme caution and to be aware of possible stopped traffic as crews build the westbound I-70 bridge over proposed ramps just west of I-75 near Dayton, the westbound I-70 bridge over I-75, the I-70 to southbound I-75 ramp, and the southbound I-75 to eastbound I-70 ramp. Work continues in the median of I-70 eastbound from I-75 to the CSX railroad.

Data shows this project has the potential to reduce fatal and injury crashes by 25 percent, rear end crashes by 41 percent, and all crashes by 17 percent.

The first phase of the 10- to 12-year I-75 modernization improvement plan encompasses the area between Riverview Avenue and Leo Street.

“When the project is complete, everyone who lives, works, or travels through the Dayton area will see the results of the project by eliminating congestion and driver confusion from weaving in and out of lanes just to stay on I-75,” stated ODOT’s Beasley.

“Interstate 75 through downtown Dayton was originally constructed in the 1950’s and was designed for the best traffic projections at the time. Today, nearly 50 years later, the interstate remains unchanged, but the volume of traffic has increased to approximately 124,000 vehicles per day, far beyond the numbers expected,” said ODOT District Deputy Director Rex Dickey.

Two lanes of traffic are being maintained in the northbound and southbound directions from Little York Road to US 40. Construction of the southbound I-75 bridge over the proposed ramp (southbound I-75 to eastbound I-70) is continuing.

A number of commercial and residential buildings have been demolished in the vicinity of the existing Main Street interchange. Building demolition began in mid-August.

One building in the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority (DMHA) Parkside Homes complex is being removed to accommodate the new southbound interstate exit ramps. The old Reynolds & Reynolds building is to be demolished for a future phase of the interstate reconstruction. Building demolition is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Project limits for the first phase of the I-75 modernization through downtown Dayton runs from Riverview Avenue to the south and Leo Street to the north. Improvements also will be made on Main Street between Great Miami Blvd and Babbit Street.

The existing number of travel lanes will be maintained during construction with a minimum of two lanes in each direction to be maintained at all times. Upon completion, three “through” lanes will be available in each direction on I-75.

Several ramps will close permanently including all ramps at Grand Avenue, Keowee Street, Leo Street, Riverside Drive and Neva Drive. These ramp closures will occur at various stages of the project. Access to Main Street will be maintained at all times.

As part of Phase 1A, a “softer” northbound curve will be provided in the State Route 4 interchange, replacing the existing sharp curve. The project also will include the elimination of left hand ramps and the reconfiguration and upgrade of the Main Street exit. There aslo will be three through lanes in each direction between Riverview Avenue and Leo Street.

The deteriorated bridge over the Great Miami River at Stanley Avenue also is being replaced.

“ODOT is committed to providing a long lasting, modern transportation system while minimizing construction impacts to the traveling public through an efficient construction program and effective communication,” stated a recent ODOT press release.

For more information, visit www.dot.state.oh.us/dist7/Projects/7075ConstructionUpdate.htm. CEG