MLK interchange

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a busy year ahead.  Acting District 8 deputy director Gary Middleton announced the beginning of the construction season Monday afternoon.

“To many Ohioans, construction season means orange barrels and potential delays,” Middleton says.  “However construction season means more than that.  It’s an investment in our state’s transportation system that is vital to our economy and vital to job creation in Ohio.”

Holly Yurchison / WVXU News

Work is already underway on the new Martin Luther King interchange with I-71. On Thursday, state and local officials gathered at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to tout the project's benefits.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray praised the way local and state governments came together to fund and fast-track the project.

"What we are setting in motion today is going to change the transportation landscape in the greater Cincinnati  are forever," says Wray.

Mark Heyne / WVXU News

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.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU News

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.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU News

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.

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