By Kristin Rover
Orange cones and signs are becoming increasingly visible in Clermont County as phase two of the Eastgate area improvement projects, which are part of the Eastern Corridor program, gets underway this summer.
The projects, which began with phase one in the fall of 2012, will occur in several phases over the next few years and are expected to be completed by 2016.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District, the Clermont County Engineer’s Office, Union Township, and other local governments are all collaborating to complete the projects, which total nearly $80 million.
“For us it is unprecedented,” Clermont County Engineer Patrick Manger said about the improvements. “In terms of the amount of construction and the positive impacts and change.”
Manger explained that three major phases of improvements as well as several side projects are either underway, or will be underway in the next couple of years.
Manger said phase one of the projects, which began in the fall of 2012 included Eastgate North Frontage Road construction that improved access to and from state Route 32 and Eastgate Boulevard near East Gate Mall and the retail area surrounding it.
“Phase one is under construction right now by Golf Galaxy and Max and Erma’s,” Manger said. “Phase one should be done in September. That sets the stage for phase two.”
Manger said the Ohio Department of Transportation is managing phase two and three of the project.
Sharon Smigielski, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said phase two began earlier this spring and includes the reconstruction of Eastgate Boulevard over state Route 32.
“This involved reconstructing or widening the interstate bridge over 32 as well as re-locating the existing westbound entrance and exit ramps from state Route 32 to Eastgate North Drive,” Smigielski said.
She said the project also involves reconstructing the westbound loop ramp from Eastgate Boulevard to state Route 32.
“Right now they are doing the ramp,” Smigielski said.
Smigielski said phase two is expected to be complete in the fall of 2014.
She said phase three of the project includes making improvements to the Interstate 275 and state Route 32 interchange.
“We will be addressing high accident rates and inappropriately spaced access points,” Smigielski said about the project.
Smigielski said phase three will include constructing new access ramps to state Route 32 from Interstate 275.
She said the project also includes widening a portion of state Route 32 from Old State Route 74 to Eastgate Square Drive.
“The work has not yet started, but the project has been awarded,” Smigielski said about phase three.
Smigielski said they awarded the construction contract to John R Jurgensen. She said construction is expected to begin this summer and is expected to continue until 2016.
“The benefit for all three projects are to make it safer and easier for motorists to use,” Smigielski said. “To reduce congestion and accommodate ever-increasing traffic levels and improve access and safety for drivers.”
In addition to the first three phases, Manger said the Clermont County TID is also working on other projects that go along with the improvements.
Manger said they are moving telephone poles and beginning construction on the Clough Pike Widening project that will widen 1.3 miles of Clough Pike between Mount Carmel Tobasco Road and Glen Este-Withamsville Road.
Manger said they are in the design phase of the Aicholtz Road Connector project, which will help reduce congestion on state Route 32. He said the project is expected to begin in July of 2015.
He said they will also be working on the Ivy Pointe extension project as well as constructing a roundabout on Eastgate South Drive.
Manger said an extensive amount of planning and collaboration between all levels of government have gone into the projects that are beginning in the area. He said they are excited to be getting the projects underway.
“This project shows how different agencies should work together,” Manger said.
He said each government agency and organization that is involved with the projects contributes their own specialties and have collaborated to make the projects happen.
And while all of the projects are slated to be complete in 2016, Manger said this is only the beginning of major improvements to roadways in the eastern area.
“All this work is good, but we’re not done,” Manger said.
He said they are currently working on the planning and design of projects further east that will be completed years down the road.
For more information about construction projects in the Eastgate area contact Clermont County Traffic Engineer Jeremy Evans at (513) 732-8857. For more information about the Eastern Corridor projects visit www.easterncorridor.org.