You know spring has really arrived when orange barrel season officially gets underway. Ohio and local transportation officials got it rolling Thursday with a news conference at the corner of Fields-Ertel and Mason-Montgomery, a congested intersection next to I-71 that is slated for a loop ramp to make it easier and safer for drivers to navigate.
The interchange project is one of many the Ohio Department of Transportation said will make this state construction season the largest ever and put a lot of Ohioans back to work.
State officials are expected to award a contract to build the new interchange on I-71 at Martin Luther King Drive in April, and construction could begin in July.
Ohio Department of Transportation officials updated a city council committee Tuesday on the $118 million project. Assistant Project Manager John Otis said when the work begins contractors will not have a complete set of plans.
Cincinnati Council will likely vote Wednesday to sell bonds to pay for the city's portion of building a new interchange on I-71 at Martin Luther King Drive. The plan has been in the works for several years.
“We’re not just building a road because we need a road there,” Council Member Yvette Simpson said. “We anticipate lots of development along the corridor.”
The MLK interchange is designed to provide easier access to the Uptown area and places like the University of Cincinnati and several major hospitals.
Governor Kasich's transportation funding plan released this week would give a boost to a project to build a new interchange at Martin Luther King Junior Drive and I-71 in Cincinnati's Uptown. The plan calls for starting construction next year on the $107 million project.
Local officials have already been making their own plans for the interchange and the second of two planning studies is being held tonight. Uptown Consortium CEO Beth Robinson says the project is expected to radically change the face of Uptown and increase traffic on MLK.