MASON, Ohio -- Warren County commuters, rejoice: The new Socialville-Foster Road bridge that spans Interstate 71 opened to traffic Wednesday.
The completion of the project, which also included the widening of Socialville-Foster Road between Innovation Way and Columbia Road, was six weeks ahead of schedule, according to the Warren County Transportation Improvement District.
The completion of the project will help alleviate traffic congestion issues on Socialville-Foster Road at Columbia Road, said Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison.
“We’re seeing this area really open up,” Tunison said. “It will help Mason develop a larger area of land in their city, and it’ll also open up development opportunities in Deerfield Township. We’re pretty excited about all of the improvements going on and helping traffic flow into the Procter & Gamble Mason Business Center.”
The widening of Socialville-Foster Road has been on the transportation district’s radar since the late ‘90s, Tunison said, but the $6.5 million for the project only became available within the past five years.
P&G should be completely moved from its Blue Ash facility to its new Mason location in 2018. The move will add about 1,800 new commuters to an area that’s already become congested because of business activity.
"The work on Socialville-Foster, along with the other infrastructure improvements taking place in southwest Warren County, support safer travel and better access for the growing number of businesses in Mason," Mason Mayor Victor Kidd said. "We have a strong ecosystem of industry-leading companies here in Mason, and it's our top priority to make sure that the folks who travel in and out of Mason do so safely and smoothly."
The completion of the Socialville-Foster Road project is timely, as it sets the stage for other improvements that aim to ease the flow of traffic in the area.
The transportation district put out to bid Thursday a project to extend Innovation Way southward, where it will intersect with Duke Boulevard. A recently completed roundabout at the intersection of Innovation Way and Socialville-Foster Road should help commuters more quickly get through the intersection, Tunison said.
That is, provided motorists become accustomed to the use of the roundabout. Though the transportation district praised roundabouts for the improvements they can make in safety and travel delays, Tunison noted that some area motorists have struggled to become accustomed to navigating the new traffic pattern.
“Driving through a roundabout, I noticed, will be different for a lot of people,” he said. “So I would advise motorists to really watch the lane markings on the pavement to get them in the right lane when they’re going through it.”
In April, the Ohio Department of Transportation will open bids for the construction of a southbound off-ramp and a northbound on-ramp onto I-71. And sometime next year, the transportation district will begin work on rerouting Columbia Road so that it intersects with Western Row Road about 800 feet to the east of the current intersection, Tunison said.
“It will make the intersection of Kings Island Drive and the ramps to Western Row Road flow a lot better because we won’t have this other intersection coming in right at the interchange,” he said.
The county transportation district partnered with ODOT and the city of Mason on the project. The construction of a bridge over the interstate was a first for the county, Tunison said.
“It was a real pleasure to see the first car go over it yesterday,” Tunison said. “I was very happy. It’s been a real accomplishment, and it really speaks to the team.”