NEWTON, Ohio - Diners at the Main Street Cafe in Newtown are surrounded by history.
The tin ceiling and massive framed mirror date back to the days when the building first opened as a stage coach stop 130 years ago.
But transportation history is not on Pauline Murrie's mind as she serves her customers.
It's the future.
"I'll fight it tooth and nail," she said.
Murrie's fight is over the Ohio Department of Transportation's Eastern Corridor Program that will widen and relocate State Highway 32, which currently runs right down Main Street.
She says those perceived enhancements would devastate the village.
"The speed, the traffic, the drugs that are brought into town with something like that is a totally different situation than the police knowing every single car that goes up and down the highway here," Murrie said.
Joe Vogel is overseeing the program at ODOT.
He says the aim of the program is to reduce congestion between Red Bank Road and Clermont County with a $1 billion-plus improvement.
The plan also includes more bus routes, rail service and bike lanes.
The concerns expressed by some members of the village, he says, will not be ignored.
"We work with them to see what kind of benefits can be brought to them, as well as what kind of impacts there might be on the community and how we can mitigate those impacts," he said.
Newtown's mayor, Curt Cosby, believes at least one third of the village's businesses will be wiped out by whichever of the four proposed routes ODOT decides to pick.
He says Interstate 275 was designed as the bypass for traffic, not Highway 32.
Neither Cosby nor Murrie see the village's Main Street as congested.
Murrie said the project is a waste of time and money.
"I see no reason for it. None," Murrie said,
If resistance to the program is insurmountable, Vogel says there is one more option.
"We always keep what we call a 'no build' option," he said. "So, there's a chance that we could get to a point where we say this isn't worth it."
One way or another, the program is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
For more information, visit www.EasternCorridor.org.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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