UNION TOWNSHIP -- Traffic might move a little smoother around Eastgate starting this fall.
Clermont County Transportation Improvement District representatives are rebuilding connections on Aicholtz Road. Portions of the road were disrupted in the 1960s, when Interstate 275 was built.
"It's re-establishing that connection that existed years and years ago," said Clermont County Engineer Pat Manger.
The project is one of a variety of measures taken in recent years to ease traffic congestion on state Route 32, which runs parallel to Aicholtz Road.
"With the full connection of it, it becomes a second arterial road to state Route 32," said Union Township Administrator Ken Geis.
Improvements to the interchange of I-275 and state Route 32 paved the way, reconnecting Aicholtz Road as an underpass in 2015. Construction began last summer to add a center turn lane and widen Aicholtz between Mount Carmel Tobasco Road and Eastgate Boulevard.
A new sidewalk also is being added on the south side of Aicholtz Road.
The Aicholtz Connector is expected to reduce the number of cars on state Route 32 by offering local drivers an alternative route to area businesses and schools.
"A lot of local traffic will be diverted to that," Geis said.
The state route is currently the only option for residents in the area to travel to nearby stores, like Kroger and Jungle Jim's.
"I think a lot of people will find this to be very beneficial in their day-to-day commute," Manger said.
The connector could divert as many as 18,000 vehicles a day from state Route 32, according to a presentation prepared by Clermont County Chief Deputy Engineer Craig Stephenson.
"We looked at all of the infrastructure, and we said, 'How can we improve the whole network a little bit instead of trying to have 32 be the answer?' " Manger said.
In addition to boosting economic development in the area, reducing congestion on state Route 32 will improve traffic safety, Geis said.
School bus drivers may be among those benefiting from the alternative, too.
"I'm sure there'll be a benefit to the school districts," Manger said.
The project is in the last of three phases.
The initial phase included the reconnection of Aicholtz Road in 2015, the second phase focused on the portion of Aicholtz Road east of I-275 and the current phase includes construction on Aicholtz west of I-275.
The total project cost is $17,300,000. The cost of construction for the latter two phases makes up $5,600,000 of the total cost.
The project was funded primarily through the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments via the federal Surface Transportation Program.
"With improvements and investments … we'll continue to be able to see increases in our population and increases in our overall value in the township," Geis said.
The Aicholtz Connector is slated to be complete this August.