By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LIBERTY TWP. - The first step was taken Monday to widen the congested intersection of Ohio 747 and Princeton Road.
The Butler County Transportation Improvement District approved buying a home at 6565 Princeton-Glendale Road (Ohio 747), one of at least four property acquisitions needed to improve the two-lane intersection. A price of $125,000 had been negotiated with Roger W. Denney for the parcel, said Rick Bailey, district director.
The lack of left-turn lanes has made the area a major bottleneck in the rapidly growing township. Traffic has increased since the Michael A. Fox Highway (Ohio 129) was built south of the intersection, and two Lakota school buildings opened east of there last fall.
Fixing the intersection will become even more critical this fall, when the township staffs Firehouse No. 3 under construction on Ohio 747 between Princeton Road and the Fox Highway, says Christine Matacic, trustee and acting township administrator.
The transportation district, working with the Butler County Engineer's Office and Liberty Township trustees, plans to expand Ohio 747 to five lanes in the area. Princeton Road would be rebuilt with four lanes west of the crossroads, and three lanes to the east, Bailey said.
Construction could begin next year on the $2.7-million project, if right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation can be completed this year, Bailey said.
Developers that plan to build a United Dairy Farmers store and a small shopping center at the northeast and southwest corners have pledged $200,000 each to the project, plus donated land for the roads, Bailey said. A similar agreement is expected with the southwest corner's developer, he said.
Funding for the rest of the project would come from Liberty Township, if trustees approve the plan later this week. The township would use tax increment financing payments - property taxes generated by development in a specific area to help pay for infrastructure improvements.
If officials waited for the state to fund the project, work might not begin for four or five years, Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has said.
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