Thursday, September 21, 2000

Safety barrier going up between I-75 and St. Bernard

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ST. BERNARD — Persistence is paying off in a concrete barrier and chain link fence here.

        Finally, after more than six years of lobbying, work has begun to erect a safety barrier along the east side of Interstate 75 north of Mitchell Avenue to south of the Norwood Lateral, said Ray Schrand, the city's service director.

        The barrier is designed to protect homes built down an embankment from the expressway as well as to keep cars from veering off the highway, through a small fence and into Ross Avenue Park. The project will be completed in two phases. Kim Patton, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), said Wednesday the first phase — a $693,000 upgrade — targets the roadside from Mitchell Avenue to the Vine Street overpass. It should be completed by June.

        The 54-inch-high safety barrier will be topped by a 5-foot chain link fence. The state is funding all of the first phase, Mrs. Patton said.

        “This is all the result of safety concerns voiced by the city, and the state is working with the city to alleviate those concerns,” Mrs. Patton said.

        State Sen. Mark Mallory, D-Cincinnati, accelerated the agreement between ODOT and St. Bernard earlier this year after years of debate over the need for the barrier. The state also will provide materials to the city to grade and place movable sections of concrete barrier wall along the remaining 0.4-mile stretch between the Vine Street overpass and the Norwood Lateral, including the portion that abuts Ross Avenue Park, Mr. Schrand said.

        The city has agreed to pay the engineering cost of the northern leg of the project and to supply the labor to complete that portion north of the Vine Street overpass. Cost to complete the section from the Vine Street overpass to the lateral is estimated at $215,000. The city share is estimated at $92,000.


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