Tuesday, January 27, 2004

River Road bypass to open

Erosion has closed highway since Jan. 4

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - River Road could reopen to traffic by the end of February, with a temporary one-lane bypass around the eroded highway.

Great Miami River flooding Jan. 4 closed River Road on the western edge of the city, from Gray Road to U.S. 27.

City Council on Monday agreed to spend $42,000 for a signalized one-lane path to be built on Cincinnati's Charles M. Bolton Water Treatment Plant property around the weakened road.

"I hope to have it open within a month, maybe sooner," said David Bock, city public works director. "A lot of it depends on how the weather cooperates."

Council members said they have received many complaints in the last three weeks about the closing of River Road, which provides easy access to Northgate Mall, Ross Township, Oxford and Procter & Gamble's Miami Valley Laboratories in Colerain Township.

Council also authorized spending another $12,617 for an engineering firm already under contract to the city to design a solution to the River Road erosion.

Using Fuller, Mosberger, Scott and May would expedite the repair process "which can take months to complete," according to a city staff report to council.

Six months, to be exact.

Bock doesn't expect River Road to be rebuilt until July.

City officials have not said publicly how much it may cost to fix River Road. They'll only say it will be expensive - and that it wasn't an anticipated expense in this year's budget.

"It's going to be pretty significant to repair," said Steve Miller, vice mayor and public works committee chairman.

Some of the construction could be paid for by the state. Council Monday ordered City Manager Art Pizzano and Mayor Erick Cook to apply for state disaster relief funds from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Butler County commissioners declared a state of emergency in the county on Jan. 5.

"We think we have a good shot at getting some financing for the roadway," Pizzano told council.


E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com

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