By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MIAMI TWP. - Police in this northwestern Clermont County community are hoping to improve traffic safety with a nearly $70,000 grant they've received from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Miami Township has received this grant for years, but this year's amount - $68,332 - is a 53 percent increase over last year's amount.
Officials say that's significant considering the funding cuts and belt-tightening going on at both the state and local levels.
The money will be used to fund three separate traffic safety programs through the rest of this year and into 2004.
Miami Township police said the grant would support Traffic Safety Enforcement Blitzes to be conducted during the Christmas and New Year Holidays.
In February, the department will conduct similar traffic initiatives in observance of Child Safety Seat Month. And other traffic sweeps will be done during the holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and the Labor Day weekend of 2004.
These sweeps will focus primarily on seat-belt usage, and ensuring no motorists are driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.
Miami Township police have conducted extra patrols under this grant program for more than 11 years. The department operates a full-service Traffic Safety Unit staffed with six officers. The department also regularly deploys three speed-detecting radar trailers.
This grant comes at a time when the township is focusing on ways to curb traffic congestion.
Tens of thousands of motorists use Ohio 28, the area's main access road, every year.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to widen the state route to five lanes (two travel lanes in each direction and one turning lane) beginning in spring 2005.
Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, is working with the township to convince ODOT to remove a traffic light at Woodville Pike and Ohio 28. That light, she contends, aggravates congestion.
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