Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Citizens clamor for wider Ohio 73

Continuous turn lane would cost

Enquirer Contributor

        FRANKLIN — Several residents and property owners along Ohio 73 (Second Street) are urging city officials to widen the street to five lanes when it is upgraded next year, adding $500,000 to the already $1.3 million project.

        Plans currently call for widening the two-lane road from near Meadowview Drive to Riley Boulevard at the edge of downtown to four lanes with intermittent turn lanes. But some residents say a center turn lane should run the entire length of the project.

        That would provide easier access to driveways along the busy road and could make for smoother traffic flow, they say. About 50 people attended Monday's City Council meeting, many wearing buttons that showed an open hand — the five digits representing five lanes.

"You know we need it'
        “If you want to improve Franklin, you can improve it that way,” said Stan Kolb, who owns a building along Ohio 73. “We need it. You know we need it.”

        Representatives from two churches along Ohio 73 joined residents in asking for the wider road. “We've offered to do whatever we can to help,” said Wendy Kimmel, council president of St. Paul Lutheran Church. “Any time you try to make a left-hand turn in or out of the church, you have to wait.”

        City engineer Fred Gossman said a fifth lane would cost about $500,000 more and the city would have to pay for it. The city has received $1 million in state money for the work.

December decision
        At council's direction, city engineers will adjust the plans to add the fifth lane, and council will hold a special meeting Dec. 13 to decide on the change. Officials are concerned the state's $1 million contribution would be in jeopardy if the project is delayed.

        The project is scheduled for summer and should be finished by the end of 2000, Mr. Gossman said.

        This Warren County city has grown steadily in recent years, and Ohio 73 is congested during rush hours as drivers use it to get to and from Interstate 75. Each afternoon, a long line of cars stretches up the hill back toward the interstate.

        The city's population has climbed from 11,026 in 1990 to more than 12,000 today.


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