The Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) met today to recommend funding for projects from throughout the State of Ohio. TRAC was established by Ohio Revised Code in 1997 and is a nine-member council that assists in developing a project selection process for ODOT’s largest investments. The council members recommended $10 million dollars for the South Hamilton Crossing (SHX) project citing the significant impact the project will have improving transportation in the City of Hamilton and the region. SHX will replace an existing at-grade railroad crossing with a railroad overpass created by extending Grand Boulevard to the west. The Butler County Transportation Improvement District (TID) applied for the funding this year in partnership with the City of Hamilton.
In addition to the $10 million from the State of Ohio, SHX has received $2.45 million in funding from OKI Regional Council of Governments, $750,000 from the Butler County TID, $100,000 from the Butler County Engineer’s Office, and is expected to receive an estimated $1 million from the railroad. The City of Hamilton anticipates contributing approximately half of the cost of the project. The total project cost is estimated to be $29 million.
Currently, there is only one existing grade separated crossing that permits east-west flow through the City of Hamilton (Jack Kirsch Underpass). This project is expected to greatly improve connectivity, reduce drive times, and increase safety. Currently, 56 trains travel through the existing crossing daily, blocking the crossing 15.3% of the time.
SHX is anticipated to have especially important benefits to Vora Technology Park, University Commerce Park, and Miami University-Hamilton, as it greatly improves transit access to these areas.
“The State of Ohio’s contribution to the South Hamilton Crossing project is crucial to its success,” stated City Manager Joshua Smith. “SHX is very important to the City of Hamilton because it will improve safety, enhance traffic flow, and make development more attractive in a key area of the city. The Ohio Department of Transportation is a tremendous partner and we are very grateful for ODOT’s support of SHX. Without partners like ODOT, OKI, elected representatives, and our TID member communities, we could not complete this project.”
The City of Hamilton began right-of-way acquisition for the project in February 2014 and construction is anticipated to start March 2016. The project is expected to be complete in late 2017. There are records of plans for South Hamilton Crossing dating back to 1911.
“Jim Blount, Chairman of the Butler County TID, has been a long-time champion of South Hamilton Crossing and was instrumental in moving the project forward,” Joshua Smith continued. “Carla Fiehrer and Ed Shelton also deserve recognition for their efforts to get South Hamilton Crossing completed.”
TRAC will conduct a final vote after a period for public comment that closes January 20th.