Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Two regions aim for relief of I-75 woes

Transportation groups from Cincinnati, Dayton areas cooperating in effort

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN — Interstate 75 has gotten so crowded and unsafe that two regions normally competing for transportation dollars are cooperating in an effort to solve the highway's problems.

        Officials from Greater Cincinnati and Dayton on Tuesday met as part of the North-South Transportation Initiative, touting the effort as the first transportation cooperation between the two cities and a potential model for other projects throughout the state.

        “This highway is critical to the economy of both areas, and it only makes sense to cooperate,” said Gordon Proctor, ODOT executive director.

        The Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, which controls federal highway funds for Greater Cincinnati, represents the Tristate in the initiative. The Dayton area is represented by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, which controls federal highway funding for Montgomery and Miami counties.

        The Ohio Department of Trans portation also is participating in the $6 million study. OKI is paying for $4 million of the study, while MVPRC is paying the rest.

        Also Tuesday, officials released findings of surveys held over the summer. The two biggest issues surrounding I-75 are congestion and safety, according to a survey that included 431 interviews and written responses.

        Tuesday's meeting elicited more response, with about 75 people in small groups discussing potential goals for the plan. Suggestions included planning land use before planning roads and implementing alternate transportation modes.

        “They're bringing different voices to the table early, which is a sea change,” said Susan Schultz, director of external relations for the Mill Creek Restoration Project.

        The eventual plan is due in early 2002, and should address problems with the 85-mile corridor that stretches from the I-75-71 split in southern Boone County in Kentucky to northern Miami County north of Dayton.

        OKI officials estimate that the stretch of I-75 is 50 percent over capacity. The Brent Spence Bridge, for example, was designed to handle 80,000 vehicles daily but often sees 145,000 vehicles a day.

        I-75 also is the busiest truck route in North America.


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- Two regions aim for relief of I-75 woes
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