Thursday, August 12, 1999

Boone Co. prioritizes road projects

But timetable is unknown

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Nearly 50 residents descended on the Boone County Extension Center Wednesday night to gain some insight into the county's planned road improvements.

        They had few questions for the consultants associated with the project, but the staff had even fewer answers.

        Only seven people posed inquiries of the Northeast Boone County Planning Committee during the public hearing, and most of the questions centered around the construction timetable. The committee has been working to identify what transportation renovations are needed to deal with Boone County's burgeoning growth.

        On July 21, the committee, which anticipated a construction budget of $70 million to $85 million over 20 years, ranked the three projects with the highest priority:

        • The strengthening and widening of North Bend Road north of Interstate 275 to accommodate traffic from future residential development and a new elementary school at an estimated cost of $20 million.

        • Rebuilding the interchange at Ky. 212 and I-275 to provide better access to the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport and relieve stress on I-275. This project would cost about $7 million. A similar alternative would be to construct an interchange at Ky. 236 and I-275 for $5 million.

        • A new $31-million road between Zig Zag Road and Mineola Pike to ease congestion on Burlington Pike.

        Three other projects totaling $19 million were given second-tier status and placed on a longer-range construction plan.

        Pat Placke, who lives on North Bend Road, asked whether the renovations to her street would be completed before the new school opened in two years.

        “After this the plan goes to the Transportation Cabinet for inclusion in the six-year plan,” said Warner Moore, the project manager. “Then funding will be allocated to begin the next stage of the project. The earliest I believe anything could be done would be five years after that.”

        Mr. Moore said it would be at least two years before developers knew where the road would go and could notify resi dents whose land would be needed to accommodate the thoroughfare.

        Other residents who tried to determine when road improvements near their homes would begin were given similar responses. Desmond Roberts, who owns the Florence Buick GMC car dealership at 1154 Burlington Pike, tried to find out when the new road between Zig Zag Road and Mineola Pike would be completed, if approved by the state.

        “At this point I cannot give you a final date,” Mr. Moore said. “It's not an eminent project. I don't think something's going to happen on that in the next three or four years.”

        When Mr. Roberts, who is considering adding an entrance to his lot from Zig Zag Road, asked where the new road would originate, Mr. Moore could not reassure him.

        “We've only identified a connector,” he said. “It may be Zig Zag, it may not be Zig Zag.”

        One resident was irked by the lack of concrete information provided by the committee.

        “This was a waste of time,” he said. “We could have just stayed home.”


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