The March 9 open house is the latest effort to address issues related to U.S. 50, state Route 32 and other roadways connecting the region’s eastern communities to Cincinnati. The event will focus on segments II and III of the Eastern Corridor, which cover the area between Red Bank Road and the interchange of I-275 and state Route 32.
“This is just to provide an opportunity to explain some of the things we’ve gotten, some of the ideas, suggestions and updated data,” said Brian Cunningham, communications director for ODOT district 8.
The open house will be held at Miami Valley Christian Academy from 4-7 p.m.
Members of the public can stop by any time during the open house to view information boards featuring updated traffic volume, travel time, congestion and crash data for Eastern Corridor segments II and III. Public feedback gathered through an online survey and focus area workshops will be available as well.
There will be no formal presentation, but ODOT representatives will be present during the event to speak with community members and answer questions.
“We want to make sure folks have the opportunity to weigh in on projects,” Cunningham said. “And then we want to be able to show them that yes, their concerns are important to us.”
Traffic congestion along the Eastern Corridor is a long-standing issue.
“For a number of years it’s been clearly recognized that there are deficiencies in mobility and travel time problems,” said Bob Koehler, deputy executive director for the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments.
Hamilton County engineer Ted Hubbard agreed.
“It’s been an issue for decades,” he said.
While commonly recognized as problematic, the solution for the safety and mobility issues has not been a simple one. The Eastern Corridor Program, which is divided into four core projects, is currently in its second phase of study and development.
ODOT representatives previously proposed a new roadway that would have cut through the Little Miami Valley. Those plans were discarded due to concerns expressed by community members.
Gathering public input is part of the federal process, which requires transportation officials and engineers to consider not only the natural but the social environment. However, the emphasis on community feedback also is important to ensure the projects are supported.
“With all of our projects we want to have public support,” Cunningham said.
Because they live and work in the area, community members can sometimes offer a perspective that may otherwise be overlooked.
“A lot of times, you’ll get good information that maybe the planners or engineers hadn’t considered,” Koehler said.
ODOT representatives will use the information shared during the open house to guide them in planning future road improvements.
Although the input gathered within the past year will inform improvements to existing infrastructure, ODOT representatives will continue to consider new feedback from the open house.
“Depending what kind of feedback we get, there may be some adjustments to what we’re going to pursue,” Cunningham said.