Cincinnati enters year two of $60 million preventative road maintenance plan

Posted at 6:00 AM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 08:59:12-04

CINCINNATI -- The city is hoping to work on roughly 300 miles of road this year, part of a six-year street rehabilitation program that began in 2016.

It's all part of a $60 million capital acceleration program going through 2021, meant -- for the first time -- to include preventative maintenance on roads still rated in good condition.

The 300 lane-miles of improvements slated for this year represent about 10 percent of the city's roughly 2,900 miles of cumulative traffic lanes. Almost half of that runs through residential zones, according to Department of Transportation and Engineering officials.

The Department of Transportation and Engineering still prioritizes repair work for streets rated in poor condition, but the hope is that the preventative measures will mean a decrease in repair costs down the road, said department Director Michael Moore.

In 2016, the plan called for just under $15 million in both state and local funding, and this year will see a little more than $14 million. The costs continue to slide down, according to the program's projections:

Source: City of Cincinnati (Provided)

About $4 million of the pot this year -- and 27 lane-miles upgraded -- will come from grants, including from the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT is giving the Department of Transportation and Engineering $1 million for improvements to a 10-mile stretch of Glenway Avenue on Cincinnati's West Side, one of the city's busiest thoroughfares. Another $2 million in grant money will go to improving Madisonville streets, and $1.3 million for Colerain Avenue.

The Department of Transportation and Engineering said it developed the front-loaded financing plan because costs were increasing: Increased demand for work as well as a reduction in local market competition were the chief causes of the higher costs.

These are the neighborhoods that can expect to see -- or already have seen -- roadwork done in their area:

  • Avondale
  • California
  • East End
  • Evanston
  • Madisonville
  • Oakley
  • Camp Washington
  • East Walnut Hills
  • Mount Airy
  • Northside
  • Riverside
  • North Cumminsville
  • Walnut Hills
  • Carthage
  • East Westwood
  • English Woods
  • Hartwell
  • Millvale
  • North Avondale
  • North Fairmount
  • Over-the-Rhine
  • West End

Here is an eagle-eye view of the streets rated "poor" or lower and seeing repair work, pretty evenly dispersed throughout the city:

Source: City of Cincinnati

As for the preventative roadwork, that's more concentrated, mostly on the city's West Side:

Source: City of Cincinnati

In Glenway Avenue's case, deteriorating pavement isn't the only problem. The lengthy and busy corridor was among one of the hot spots WCPO identified last year for pedestrian-involved collisions. Many spots along the stretch have low curbs and travel lanes in close proximity to the sidewalks.

Unfortunately, Moore said, the ODOT grant money was dispersed specifically for resurfacing a pavement markings on the street and not street redesign efforts.

"The funding is fairly narrow in focus," Moore told WCPO by email, but it's not to say the paving work in the area won't bring some increased safety for pedestrians.

"We are looking at various improvements that can be made to help pedestrian safety in the corridor," he said, "including updating crosswalk pavement markings and higher visibility signage, for example."

Pat LaFleur reports on transportation for WCPO. Connect with him on Twitter (@pat_laFleur).