By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LIBERTY TWP. - With state approval of the Liberty interchange configuration, the next step will be demonstrating the need for I-75 ramps connecting the Michael A. Fox Highway (Ohio 129) and Hamilton-Mason Road.
Butler County Commission President Chuck Furmon announced Monday that the Ohio Department of Transportation had endorsed the route submitted late last year by the Butler County Transportation Improvement District.
The Fox Highway, which opened five years ago to link Hamilton to the interstate, dead-ends into I-75. Butler County officials want to add collector roads and access to Hamilton-Mason Road, plus extend Cox Road north from Hamilton-Mason Road to Ohio 63 in Monroe.
Federal and state highway officials will not approve new interchanges if they will add to interstate congestion, said Rick Bailey, transportation district director. So federal and state highway authorities must be convinced that the $42-million project would alleviate congestion on I-75 by providing quicker, more direct access to booming areas of Mason and Liberty and West Chester townships, Bailey said.
"On Ohio 129, you don't have a choice, with a terminus only at I-75. This way you would have alternative ways to go to Mason, other than getting on I-75 and going down to Tylersville Road," Bailey said. The improvements would divert some I-75 traffic to a new Cox Road parallel to the interstate, and reduce congestion on Tylersville Road.
An "interchange justification study" will be sent to state highway engineers next month.
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