Major I-71 interchange projects bring lane closures, more delays for area commuters

CINCINNATI -- The Ohio Department of Transportation is promising some minor traffic headaches now in exchange for a better commute along I-71.

Beginning Monday evening at 7 p.m. construction of a new interchange at Martin Luther King Drive and Dana Avenue in Cincinnati is set to begin.

Major roadwork on the $80.8 million construction project will start as road crews demolish the Conrail Bridge just north of the MLK Drive overpass.

Dismantling of the bridge will require nightly lane closures July 21 through Aug. 1 along that stretch of southbound I-71, according to ODOT.

One lane will be closed starting Monday evening at 7 p.m., followed by a second lane closure at 9 p.m. The highway lanes are scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. each day for the morning commute.

Then beginning Aug. 1 at 10 p.m., all southbound lanes of I-71 at Dana Avenue will be closed until 5 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4. A planned alternate route will be posted on the ODOT website closer to the closure weekend.

City, county and state planners hope the three-year interchange construction project will reduce travel time for drivers once it is finished, and promote economic growth for Cincinnati’s Uptown communities.

Earlier studies on the project estimated the road project could bring $325 million in private investment to the area with the potential to create 5,900 to 7,300 new jobs.

The new project in Cincinnati joins another I-71 interchange project further north in Warren County. New traffic restrictions began Sunday, July 20 for the ongoing I-71/Mason-Montgomery/Fields Ertel interchange project.

The latest improvement project on I-71 is designed to help alleviate growing traffic congestion in the region.

ODOT officials said drivers in the area should expect the following traffic constrictions in coming weeks:

Monday, July 21 – A single lane closure on northbound I-71 at 8 p.m., followed by a double lane closure at 11 p.m., with short-term full closures between midnight and 4 a.m. Tuesday, July 22. Also, various lane closures on Mason-Montgomery Road and Fields-Ertel Road between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day.

Tuesday, July 22 - A single lane closure on northbound I-71 at 7 p.m., followed by a double lane closure beginning at 10 p.m. Also, various lane closure on the right and left sides of northbound I-71, with all lanes open to traffic at 6 a.m. the following day.

Wednesday, July 23 – Possible lane closures on Mason-Montgomery Road and Fields-Ertel Road between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day.  Also, a right lane closure on northbound I-71 with short-term full closures between midnight and 4 a.m. the following day.

Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25 – A single lane closure on northbound I-71 at 7 p.m., followed by a double lane closure at 11 p.m., with short-term full closures between midnight and 4 a.m. the following day. 

The $7.4 million project that began in March, and includes the creation of a loop ramp, is expected to be completed sometime in 2015.

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