Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Ohio 4 Bypass widening not likely until 2008 or 2009

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Just because local governments have approved funds to widen Ohio 4 Bypass doesn't mean commuters will see changes anytime soon.

Don't "expect to see bulldozers out there this summer," cautions Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens, explaining that despite officials' talk that the bypass work is "on the fast track," work on the road project won't start until 2008 or 2009.

"In the federal government's world, that is the fast track," Wilkens said.

Hamilton, Fairfield, Fairfield Township and the county in the past 10 days have committed $10 million for the project.

Hamilton and Fairfield pledged $2.5 million each; Fairfield Township put up $1.5 million; and county commissioners' approved $3.5 million Monday night.

Those funds will be the local match when the Butler County Transportation Improvement District applies for Ohio Department of Transportation Review Advisory Council funds Friday, said Rick Bailey, transportation district director.

In the fall, the state will announce funded projects for 2006-2011.

Wilkens has called Bypass 4, a 1970s road skirting east of Hamilton and Fairfield, "the most congested highway" in the county.

Lanes would be added and Bobmeyer Road extended to the bypass from the Butler County Regional Airport-Hogan Field.

Total cost - with engineering, acquiring right-of-way and moving utilities - will be about $28 million, Bailey said.

"A number of things have to happen to build the road, but this is an important first step," said Bailey about the funding commitments.


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