transportation

Provided / SORTA

A Cincinnati Council committee has approved a streetcar operating approach, but it's likely to fail when the full council votes this afternoon.  The committee approved a management option where a private contractor will manage the system using local transit union workers.  Council Member Chris Seelbach favors that approach even though he has limited information.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has reportedly dropped plans to reroute a highway in eastern Hamilton County.

Under one possible aspect of the Eastern Corridor plan, State Route 32 would have been rebuilt and shifted to run through Mariemont.  But following a closed-door meeting today, commissioner Todd Portune says ODOT is backing away from that.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Seasonal flooding comes as no surprise to Tristate officials, who have ordered a handful of road closures, and are preparing to close more as the Ohio River rises.  And the flooding has shined a spotlight on the relative isolation of a pair of Hamilton County communities.

River levels around Hamilton County are already high, and with more rain today and tomorrow, the sheriff's office and county engineer are preparing to close more roads.  Parts of Four Mile, Eight Mile, Debolt and Kellogg had water standing on them earlier this week.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Ohio and Kentucky will share the costs of building a new bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  The Brent Spence Bridge has been deemed functionally obsolete, carrying more traffic than intended. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Crews this week are putting up the overhead wires in Over-the-Rhine that will power the Cincinnati streetcar.  Crews worked Wednesday along Elm Street, between 14th and Henry. 

Construction continues on the I-75 / Hopple St. interchange continues overnight beginning Wednesday evening. Here are the details from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Work at the I-75/Hopple interchange will require the following closures this week:

·         Various lane closures on Marshall Avenue and side streets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

·         Single left lane closure on southbound I-75 from 7 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, Jan. 28.  

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The off-ramp overpass that fell onto the southbound lanes of I-75 Monday night did not cause a lot of damage to the highway. 

That doesn't surprise Andrew Hermann, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who has been following the story.  But he says the fact that the span did fall was surprising.

“Generally, they have demolition plans where they try to take into account all the possibilities as they’re taking down a bridge, to do it safely," Hermann said.  "So it was very surprising to hear that it collapsed."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

  One construction worker was killed and a truck driver injured when a section of overpass over I-75 collapsed Monday night. Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black says they don't know yet why the section of road fell. The overpass that fell used to be the ramp from northbound 75 to Hopple Street.  It had been replaced with a new overpass in the last year, and was being torn down.  The investigation is now in the hands of the Ohio Department of Transportation and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The governors of Ohio and Kentucky plan to meet early next year to talk about replacing the Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says they're going to try to find a way to get the project moving.  He says any more delays will be costly.

Using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration, Beshear says continued delays will add about $7 million per month to the construction price tag.  “Folks, that’s $84 million a year,” he says.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati's mayor and city manager will be meeting with the streetcar team this week to discuss the dwindling amount of money in the contingency fund.  If all worst case scenarios happen, the fund could have just $80,000 left in it.  It started out with more than $9 million. 

Mayor John Cranley says the message to streetcar officials John Deatrick and Chris Eilerman is this: "We need to have a team that's going to bring the streetcar in on time and under budget, or we need a new team."

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