CINCINNATI — The West Side certainly hasn't been the best side of the city for traffic recently; with construction projects consistently clogging main roads like Queen City Avenue, traffic has caused plenty of frustration for drivers.
"It's terrible," said Dusty Rhodes, Hamilton County Auditor and West Side resident. "Can't even get to work on time because of it."
When rush hour descends onto the area, traffic backups have caused residents' commute times to skyrocket. People struggling to take Queen City Avenue, Elberon or Westwood Northern Blvd. to get to work said they faced commute times of 45 minutes or longer to travel just three miles.
Rhodes said he believes the city should have staggered road projects in the area, instead of working on three main thoroughfares in the West Side at once.
"Better planning and the consideration of the drivers and people who've got to get home and get to work," he said.
He admits the construction is bittersweet; the work is important and will improve the area, but the effects on local communities have been rough.
The roadwork has involved extensive lane closures on Queen City Ave., Elberon Ave. and Westwood Northern Blvd., making drivers feel claustrophobic and tying them up in traffic jams any time they leave the area.
Elberon Avenue has been under construction for weeks as crews work to stabilize the hill, and Westwood Northern Blvd. is seeing extensive roadwork to repair sewage issues in the area. This also doesn't take into account any of the issues concerning the Western Hills Viaduct.
"It's taken longer than the fall of Rome," said Rhodes.
City of Cincinnati officials said they do carefully consider the timing of each project.
“Most of the projects listed are considerable and not quick fixes," the city said in a written statement. "They require complex plans that often need to be completed in phases. In an effort to mitigate traffic impact, the City does coordinate with various other utilities and departments on planning for road and other construction projects that may affect the right-of-way to minimize the impact. The City works with affected community councils and stakeholder groups on a communications strategy to help alert potentially affected motorists. This includes announcing closures well ahead of time and providing a list of possible detours to help with trip planning.”
There could soon be a glimmer of hope, however. A spokesperson with the City of Cincinnati said the work on Westwood Northern Blvd. is set to finish by the end of November. In January, Elberon will be completed. This leaves only the Queen City project which will be finished in 2020.