By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer
FAIRFIELD TWP. - Jennifer Waddell, along with the thousands of other motorists who use Princeton Road, will have to wait three more weeks for the road to reopen.
The Butler County Engineer's Office has announced that Princeton Road, near the new Target store east of Ohio 4 Bypass, will not be ready until Oct. 1.
"It's disappointing. We thought it would be open a couple of weeks after school started," Waddell says. She has four sons, three of them in Fairfield Schools, which resumed classes Aug. 25.
In late July, Princeton closed between the bypass and Morris Road for widening from two to five lanes in front of the new Bridgewater Falls lifestyle center. Three new stoplights also will be installed in the half-mile between the bypass and Morris Road.
The original plan called for it to reopen Friday, with crews continuing to work on the project for another two weeks.
Keeping traffic off the road will allow the job to be completed sooner and make it safer for workers, said Denny Krall, engineering deputy to County Engineer Greg Wilkens. The goal is to finish all work before Target opens Oct. 10, says Chris Petrocy, spokesman for Wilkens.
"Having crews working in traffic, and dragging out the project longer, you run the risk of it not being completed by the opening of Target," Petrocy said.
County officials were so concerned in July about the late start on road improvements that they threatened to delay Target's Oct. 10 opening.
Princeton Road is a major east-west route in Fairfield and Liberty townships. Traffic has increased by 66 percent - to 9,183 daily vehicles - since 1997, when Fairfield East Elementary School opened at Princeton and Morris roads.
County and township officials expect many more motorists to be drawn to Bridgewater Falls next year, when Dick's Sporting Goods, J.C. Penney and Bed, Bath & Beyond open. The 530,000-square-foot complex also will include a 16- to 18-screen theater and several restaurants, according to the developer, Premier Properties USA of Indianapolis.
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